Firms have hailed Brazil’s new anti-corruption laws as a route to encourage more trade with the country.

President of the Brazilian Supreme Court Joaquim Barbosa said the landmark anti-corruption statute, which came into force on 29 January, means companies will no longer be able to offer bribes with impunity.

‘Now for the first time companies can be heavily fined,’ he said at a roundtable event hosted by the Law Society and legal association Lex Anglo-Brasil.

Adam Rose, partner at international firm Mishcon de Reya, said: ‘It puts the law on a similar footing to that of the UK in terms of our Bribery Act.’

He said the anti-corruption legislation will encourage more UK companies to invest in Brazil, which in turn will mean more work for English law firms.   

Katia Puras, solicitor at international firm DAC Beachcroft, said that stricter legislation means UK companies can be more confident they would not be penalised for the activities of business partners. ‘It’s reassuring to see the direction Brazil is taking,’ she said. 

Last year the Brazilian Supreme Court convicted 25 politicians, businessmen and bankers in the country’s biggest corruption trial.

UK Trade & Investment has designated Brazil as one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies and with GDP per head greater than either India or China.