The term “leniency agreement” appears in the lives of Brazilians more and more frequently, especially in those who are more aware of the news, whether through television or other means such as magazines and the internet.
It’s a fact we can’t deny: as corruption schemes are revealed to the public, the more we hear about the deals. But an important question is: after all, what is the leniency agreement about? By discovering its origins, as well as functions and advantages, all doubts will be extinguished!
What this article covers:
What is the leniency agreement?
The leniency agreement concerns a settlement between a person, who may be natural or legal, and the State. The person exchanges vital information for an investigation into crimes against the economic order for some benefits, such as reduced sentence.
Typically, the context for this arrangement is given in cases of corruption. In Brazil, obviously, there is the example of those that are made along the Operation Lava Jatowhich has already surpassed 13 agreements.
Even when gaining fame in the context of government corruption and large companies in the country, the leniency agreement is an American invention, and was born to combat and prevent various practices within the corporate environment, such as, for example, unfair competition.
As can be seen, since its origins, this type of agreement has the great purpose of protecting the economic order. With this, it should be mentioned that there are currently three types of leniency agreements in force in Brazil, in their respective scopes: commercial, political (anti-corruption) and bidding.
What is the leniency agreement for?
The leniency agreement has two functions. It serves both the State and the population as well as the person, natural or legal, who made the agreement. For the State, the gain is access to privileged information, which cannot be obtained by means of traditional investigation.
Nowadays, corruption schemes are very complex, and therefore it is necessary to have testimonials and information from people who have already been inside the schemes, in order to curb the same and the others involved. On the other hand, the agreement benefits the person who makes it, as it provides some advantages.
What are the benefits of the leniency agreement?
Provided that the disposition of the person seeking the agreement is voluntary, and that the information is true, the leniency agreement offers the following advantages:
- Reduction of the penalty, which is set by CADE
- Reduction of the fine by up to ⅔ of the amount
- Exemption or mitigation in obtaining a declaration of suitability
- Elimination of punitive action, regarding the administrative scope
- Possibility of extending the benefits to the criminal scope
As much as we see the plethora of leniency agreements in the news, it is important to remember that many arrests are carried out with the information given. In addition, when there is a crime of money laundering or embezzlement, the agreements open a way to recover at least part of the amount.
How is the leniency agreement applied?
The leniency agreement is carried out strictly at the administrative level, and therefore does not require a judge to carry out the agreement. Logically, the settlement can only be conducted between the state and a person already involved in an investigation.
In anti-corruption leniency agreements, the participation of the Public Ministry may be required, but only on a collaborative basis.
Knowing more about the leniency agreement is a way of understanding not only what goes on in the news, but also the extent of the work of the police, in their investigations, and of the public administration itself, which applies the agreements in the first place. Thus, we can have a clearer view of how corruption is fought in Brazil today.