María González Calvet
María González Calvet serves as co-chair of the firm’s award-winning global anti-corruption and international risk practice and Latin America practice, co-founder of the firm’s Enforcement Express, and is a former U.S. federal prosecutor and former in-house executive counsel of a Fortune 500 company. With a practice that spans two decades, María is recognized for her significant experience in anti-corruption and other investigative matters in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, and in every significant business sector.
María has worked with leaders in government, business and finance to conduct a wide variety of investigations and risk assessments. She has also represented companies, portfolio companies and individuals concerning multijurisdictional matters involving corruption, money laundering, financial fraud, health care fraud, tax fraud, environmental violations, executive misconduct, and other alleged criminal and civil misconduct.
María has conducted internal and government investigations in more than 40 countries around the globe arising from whistle-blower complaints, escalations from audits, and other front-end monitoring, and benchmarking. María works closely with in-house counsel to conduct internal investigations and compliance reviews drawing on her past work in government and the corporate sector to help clients across industries, including aerospace, health care and life sciences, energy, private equity and other investors, and geographies. María works with clients to identify and mitigate risks and implement effective compliance programs.
María serves as a trusted advisor to clients seeking wide-ranging counsel on global and cross-border risk and has particular experience in the following areas:
- Pre- and post-acquisition due diligence in high-risk markets; including for private equity investors
- International white collar fraud investigations
- Jurisdictional questions and challenges that arise from coordinated prosecution by multiple enforcement authorities
- Transactions and business dealings with government entities and financial institutions
- Risks associated with consortia and other partnerships
María is widely recognized as a thought leader in anti-corruption, particularly on risks and enforcement trends in Latin America. As one client noted to Legal 500, 'María is super experienced when it comes to performing internal investigations, speaks perfect Portuguese and Spanish and understands the Latin culture.' María is quoted frequently in the press for her expert commentary and publishes a number of articles for well-known publications, including Law360, The Anti-Corruption Report and Latinvex. Notably, María is a contributor to GIR’s 2021 and 2022 Latin America chapter of “The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations.” María also regularly presents at major industry-leading conferences across the globe, collaborating with TRACE International, Transparency International, Global Investigations Review, Latin Lawyer, American Conference Institute, and the American Bar Association, and hosts webinars, roundtables, and podcasts on emerging issues in anti-corruption and compliance.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray in 2018, María served as Executive Counsel, Global Investigations for General Electric where she led and managed government, regulatory and internal investigations for the company’s businesses across Latin America. Earlier in her career, she was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section, and was a member of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit where she led some of the Department’s most important investigations. María is a fluent, native Spanish speaker and an advanced Portuguese speaker.
- Conducted an internal investigation into allegations of improper workplace conduct for a multinational animal-health technology and services company with operations in Spain.
- Following allegations of insensitive comments and possibly racially charged behavior, investigated and made recommendations regarding a company’s culture with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Secured for Avianca Holdings, S.A., the publicly traded company behind Colombia’s flagship airline, a full declination and closure of the SEC’s and DOJ’s investigations into potential FCPA violations in connection with the provision of free airline tickets and other items of value to foreign government officials around the world.
- Retained by a U.S.-based oil and gas company involved in an investigation into potential FCPA and other corruption risks arising from business dealings involving a former high-ranking Peruvian energy consultant.
- Assisting a global transportation networking company with the risk assessment and evaluation of its compliance program for its operations across Latin America.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a Chilean salmon farming company following accusations that it had been reporting false mortality figures and had caused environmental damage.
- Retained by a multinational pharmaceutical corporation to investigate many allegations involving their COVID-19 vaccine study site in Argentina.
- Representing a global pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in relation to an ongoing cross-border investigation into bidding practices at government-operated healthcare institutions in Brazil.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a global medical device and life sciences company following a cross-boarder Customs and Border Patrol seizure. Conducted several interviews with key company personnel based in Mexico while coordinating with U.S. authorities and directing a third-party security consulting firm, operating across languages and jurisdictions.
- Quoted, “Recent Indictments Demonstrate DOJ’s Pursuit of Individuals,” Anti-Corruption Report (April 27, 2022)
- Co-author, “Latin America Overview,” Global Investigations Review’s Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (2022)
- Author, “The COVID-19 Landscape in Latin America, Over a Year Later,” The Anti-Corruption Report (October 13, 2021)
- Co-author, “Latin America: Compliance During COVID-19,” Latinvex (June 11, 2021)
- Featured, “Women in Investigations 2021: María González Calvet,” Global Investigations Review (May 18, 2021)
- Author, “Latin America Overview,” The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations, Fifth Edition (March 2021)
- Co-author, “Colombia’s Superintendence of Companies Expands New Criteria for Compliance Programs: Deadline to Comply by April 30, 2021,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 10, 2021)
- Featured, “Ropes & Gray Boosts Latin America Business,” Latinvex (January 27, 2021)
- Co-author, “Cracks in the Foundation: Sargeant Marine Inc. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $16mm for Bribery Schemes,” Ropes & Gray Alert (September 23, 2020)
- Featured, “Can Latin America Guard Both Citizens and Their Privacy?” Latin America Advisor (September 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “Analysis and Takeaways from the DOJ’s and SEC’s Recently Released Second Edition of A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Ropes & Gray Alert (July 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “OECD Working Group on Bribery Assesses the Performance of Colombia and Costa Rica,” The Anti-Corruption Report (June 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “Ensuring Compliance as Usual Even Without Business as Usual in Latin America,” Ropes & Gray Alert (April 2020)
- Co-author, “COVID-19 Lands in Latin America: Mitigation Strategies for Increased Corruption Risk,” The Anti-Corruption Report (April 15, 2020)
- Co-author, “Elevated Bribery and Fraud Risks in Latin America in the Wake of COVID-19,” Ropes & Gray Alert (April 2020)
- Co-author, “Former Alstom Executive Wins Acquittal of FCPA Counts,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 2020)
- Co-author, “Four Years and Almost $4 Billion: Airbus Corruption Investigations End with Sky-High Fine,” Ropes & Gray Alert (January 2020)
- Co-author, “Bribery: Costa Rica Enacts Corporate Criminal Liability,” Latinvex (October 30, 2019)
- Co-author, “Firing on All Cylinders: What to Expect in the PDVSA Investigation and How Companies Should Respond,” The Anti-Corruption Report (May 1, 2019) (Part 2 of 2)
- Co-author, “Firing on All Cylinders: U.S. Enforcement Efforts Against Venezuelan State-Owned Oil Company PDVSA,” The Anti-Corruption Report (April 17, 2019) (Part 1 of 2)
- Co-author, “Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Decision May Invalidate Key Operation Car Wash Efforts, but Enforcement Efforts Show No Sign of Slowing Down,” Ropes & Gray Alert (March 26, 2019)
- Co-author, “Recent Developments in Latin American Anti-Corruption Enforcement,” The Anti-Corruption Report (January 9, 2019)
- Co-author, “AMLO in Office: A New Dawn in Mexico’s Fight Against Corruption?” Ropes & Gray Alert (January 8, 2019)
- Co-author, “Petrobras Reaches $1.78 billion FCPA Resolution,” Ropes & Gray Alert (October 1, 2018)
- Featured, “María González Calvet, de Ropes & Gray, responde el Cuestionario LexLatin,” LexLatin (September 18, 2018)
- Featured, “General Electric’s Anti-Corruption Warrior,” Hispanic Executive Magazine (March/April 2018)
- Presenter, “Investigaciones Anticorrupción Internacionales: Caso Ericsson,” ICC Mexico International Chambers of Commerce (January 20, 2022)
- Panelist, “IP Updates from Around the World,” 4th Annual International IP Summit (November 15, 2021)
- Panelist, “Compliance In and Beyond the Pandemic,” Latin Lawyer and GIR Connect: Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 20, 2021)
- Panelist, “Key FCPA Compliance Considerations for Brazilian Companies,” Arbitration Channel YouTube Series (September 13, 2021)
- Panelist, “The Proliferation of Text and App-Based Messaging,” Enforcement Express Roundtable Series (July 15, 2021)
- Panelist, “Anti-Corruption Issues When Doing Business in Latin America,” Practising Law Institute FCPA and International Anti-Corruption Developments (April 12, 2021)
- Co-host and Panelist, “Why Do So Many Women Identify Themselves with the Imposter Syndrome?” Charles River Associates and Ropes & Gray Women’s Event (April 6, 2021)
- Panelist, “Investigaciones Anticorrupción Internacionales: Caso Ericsson,” Diplomado Anticorrupción del International Chamber of Commerce – Mexico (January 14, 2021)
- Moderator, “An FCPA Compliance Roadmap for Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis,” Hispanic National Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Division, International Law Section, Business Law Section, Compliance and Ethics Section and Ropes & Gray Virtual Event (January 13, 2021)
- Panelist, “Self-Disclosure Decision Making: How Practitioners are Making the Tough Call on How Much to Disclose and To Whom,” ACI 37th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (December 2, 2020)
- Moderated, “Global Enforcement - National and Foreign Enforcement Measures,” Women in White Collar Defense Association – Brazil Chapter International Webinar on Leadership Legacy, Global Enforcement, and Perspectives (November 19, 2020)
- Panelist, “Challenges and Opportunities: Views from the Defense Perspective,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 8th Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 7, 2020)
- Panelist, “Anti-Corruption Issues When Doing Business in Latin America,” PLI Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments (September 2, 2020)
- Panelist, “The Anti-Corruption Revolution in Latin America: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?” 2020 American Bar Association International Law Section Virtual Annual Meeting (June 29, 2020)
- Panelist, “Impact of COVID-19 on Anti-Bribery Compliance,” TRACE Webinar (April 21, 2020)
- Panelist, “Key Considerations when Conducting Internal Investigations in Mexico: Attorney-Client Privilege, Access to Data and Acting on Findings,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (February 27, 2020)
- Panelist, “Recent FCPA Investigations and Enforcement Actions Involving Conduct in Mexico,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (February 27, 2020)
- Panelist, “Risk & Compliance Exchange – Latin America Interactive Session,” ACI 36th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (December 5, 2019)
- Panelist, “The Era of Corporate Governance,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 7th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 17, 2019)
- Moderator, Ropes & Gray and FTI Consulting 4th Annual Women Leaders São Paulo Lunch Event (October 16, 2019)
- Panelist, “Recent FCPA Actions in Latin America: Compliance Lessons from Companies Operating in Mexico,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (June 18, 2019)
- Moderator, Global Forum on Corporate Criminal Liability, Chantilly, France (March 7, 2019)
- Panelist, “New Trends in the Fight Against Corruption Through Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement,” Mexico International Chamber of Commerce Session of the Anticorruption Commission (February 13, 2019)
- Panelist, “What to Do If Your Third Parties Are Under Suspicion: How Multinationals are Responding in Real Time to More Regional Developments,” ACI’s 35th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (November 28, 2018)
- Panelist, “Internal investigations of All Shapes and Sizes,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 6th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 18, 2018)
- Panelist, Ropes & Gray and FTI Consulting São Paulo Women’s Event (October 17, 2018)
- Panelist, “How to Be On the Safe Side: New Compliance Challenges for Clients and Law Firms,” IBA Annual Conference Rome (October 11, 2018)
- Speaker, “Internal Investigations in Latin America,” TRACE International Webinar (October 10, 2018)
- Panelist, “Creating an Internal Culture of Risk Management,” Bloomberg Law: In-House Forum East (October 4, 2018)
Admissions / Qualifications
- District of Columbia, 2020
- Pennsylvania, 2004
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2020
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2022)
- Chambers Global: Corporate Crime & Investigation – Band 3 (2022)
- Chambers Latin America-wide: Corporate Crime & Investigations – Band 3 (2022)
- Chambers USA: Nationwide FCPA – Band 5 (2021)
- Global Investigations Review Women in Investigations (2021)
- Latinvex – Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers: FCPA & Fraud (2021)
- The Legal 500 Latin America: Compliance & Investigations (2020-2021)
- Latinvex – Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers: FCPA & Fraud (2019-2020)