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 initiative, 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.
Recognized for her deep understanding and experience in the application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-bribery statutes, 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 and other forms of financial fraud. More recently, María has been helping clients navigate the increased corruption and bribery risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic crisis.
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 focusing on FCPA, anti-corruption and other risk areas. 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 corruption 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 anti-corruption 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 on anti-corruption issues 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 Latin America chapter of “The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations.” María also developed Ropes & Gray’s Anti-Corruption Legislation in Latin America Reference Guide, which highlights the firm’s depth of knowledge in the Latin America region.
María 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. Given the heightened enforcement risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, María launched “Cafecito con Ropes & Gray,” a series of virtual roundtable discussions aiming to address anti-bribery and anti-corruption concerns for businesses operating in Latin America during the pandemic. María is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Women’s White Collar Defense Association and regularly co-hosts successful women’s events in Latin America, inviting leading business and legal professionals in the region.
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 business in 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 involving allegations of corruption and other white collar offenses. María is a fluent, native Spanish speaker and an advanced Portuguese speaker. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked in education, focusing on adult literacy and bilingual education.