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Covington’s Latin America practice draws on a dedicated team of lawyers and advisors who are experienced in dealing with local legal institutions and business practices, and who have the language (English, Spanish and Portuguese) and cultural skills needed to service clients doing business and investing in the region. We draw upon a network of contacts in the legal, government, and business communities in Latin America to ensure a seamless and cost-efficient integration of local and international advice to our clients.
Our team has a deep bench of talent that includes a dedicated group of leading practitioners from our Corporate, International Arbitration, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Tax, and Anti-corruption practices.
Represented Grupo P.I. Mabe, the leading producer of hygienic products in Mexico, in its $425 million sale to Ontex Group NV, a publicly listed company based in Belgium.
Represented Citigroup in connection with the disposition of its 16% ownership stake in Grupo Aeroméxico SAB and in the sale of its controlling interest in AFP Confía, a pension management company in El Salvador, to Inversiones Atlántida, S.A., a financial holding company in Honduras. We also advised Citigroup and its Mexican affiliate, Grupo Financiero Banamex, in the sale to an affiliate of EVO Payments International of Banamex’s merchant acquiring business. All three transactions were completed in 2015.
Represented a Fortune 15 global company in a long-running and widely publicized FCPA investigation at DOJ and the SEC regarding conduct in Mexico and elsewhere. This case presents cutting-edge issues in the FCPA space relating to jurisdiction and the substantive reach of the statute.
Secured over $2 billion in compensation and interest against the Republic of Venezuela in favor of subsidiaries of client ExxonMobil. This widely-publicized victory was one of the largest awards ever obtained against a sovereign state.
Representation of two Spanish subsidiaries of GRUMA S.A. de C.V., a Mexican food conglomerate, in an ICSID arbitration proceeding against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela arising out of certain measures of the Republic that violate the bilateral investment treaty between Spain and Venezuela.
One of the world’s largest manufacturers of civilian aircraft wanted to promote its foreign direct investment and expand access to government procurements in the United States and Latin America. We supported the company’s increased engagement in Washington, achieving notable recognition by U.S. policymakers at the most senior levels of government. We also advised on U.S. trade policy, export credit programs, and market access issues.
Represented Grupo Suramericana de Inversiones, through its subsidiary AFP Integra, together with Profuturo AFP S.A., the Peruvian pension fund manager of Scotiabank, in their $516 million acquisition of AFP Horizonte, the Peruvian pension fund manager, from Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.
Advising OCP S.A. in all aspects of its commercial and strategy and its prospective investments in North Africa, Latin America, Europe, U.S. and Turkey by means of joint ventures, equity and mergers and acquisitions.
Represented OCP in its R$145 million acquisition of an approximately 10% stake in Fertilizantes Heringer S.A.
When the U.S. government announced changes to its Cuba policy, major global companies in the consumer products, travel, and entertainment sectors turned to us for advice on policy and trade matters. We advised these clients on export controls and sanctions, legislative proposals, Helms-Burton restrictions, expropriations and certified U.S. claims, and market access issues.
Represented the largest U.S. sugar importer in an antidumping and countervailing duty investigation.
We successfully challenged an agency award of a contract to assist the government of Mexico in reforming its justice system, obtaining corrective action that involved new final proposal revisions. When our client won the second round award, we defended a challenge by the prior awardee, and preserved the award to our client.
Represented UBS in the negotiation of a new long-term services agreement with Bloomberg for the calculation and administration of commodities indices.
Represented Procter & Gamble in its sale of Noxema skin care brand in the US, Canada, and certain portions of Latin America to Alberto Culver.
Represented Procter & Gamble in its sale of ThermaCare to Wyeth Consumer Healthcare.
Negotiated a creative settlement of a tort suit filed by a subcontractor arising from his imprisonment in Cuba for carrying out a USAID democracy-building program in that country. We converted that tort settlement into a contract claim by the prime contractor, and successfully negotiated payment to fully compensate the subcontractor while making the prime contractor whole.
Represented American Airlines in a software development and outsourced technology services agreement with HP for a next generation reservation, inventory, and availability system.
Represented American Airlines in information technology services agreements with Amadeus, Sabre, HP, and ITA Software.
We assisted one of the world’s largest manufacturers of agricultural equipment in establishing and strengthening relationships with key constituencies in the United States, Africa, and South America, including with relevant government officials and international NGOs. With our knowledge of global development programs and agricultural initiatives, we helped identify future markets and consumers through relationships with U.S. and non-U.S. government officials as well as international NGOs.
Represented Grupo Financiero Banorte, the Mexican financial group, and its affiliate Afore XXI Banorte in the $1.6 billion acquisition of Afore Bancomer from Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria to create Mexico’s largest pension fund.
Representation of a U.S. mining company in an ICC arbitration against a Dutch company arising out of a contractual dispute involving an investment in Peru.
Representation of a leading Mexican land development company against a large U.S. resort developer in an ICC arbitration involving claims for breach of contract.
Representation of a major European oil and gas company in a pending ICDR arbitration with a Brazilian oil and gas major relating to crude transportation agreements in the Andean region.
Representing subsidiaries of an international oil company in pending ICSID arbitration proceedings involving expropriation of investments in Venezuela, resulting in a tribunal award of compensation exceeding U.S. $2 billion in value.
A French oil and gas independent in an ICSID arbitration against a Latin American state, in a dispute arising out of alleged breaches of a bilateral investment treaty and several production sharing agreements.
Co-lead counsel to Occidental Petroleum in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Ecuador arising out of the wrongful termination of a production-sharing agreement that resulted in the largest ICSID and investment treaty award to date.
We assisted the Government of Puerto Rico during debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its efforts to secure parity in federal funding of its Medicaid program.
Conducted internal investigation relating to customs clearance practices for automotive parts in various Latin American countries.
Representation of ExxonMobil subsidiaries in a pending ICSID arbitration against Venezuela seeking full compensation under the Netherlands-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty and international law for the expropriation of investments in Venezuela. We successfully obtained US$900 million for ExxonMobil in a companion commercial arbitration described above.
Represented Linzor Capital Partners, the Latin American private equity fund, in the merger of the retail operations of its portfolio company Moda en Distribución, S.A.P.I. de C.V., into Devlyn Holdings, S. de R.L. de C.V., to create Mexico’s largest eyewear retailer.
A cross-office team conducting an internal investigation for a major U.S. financial institution of allegations that the bank assisted Argentine nationals evade taxes and launder money. We are also coordinating the bank's global defense strategy, which includes leading strategy meetings with local Argentine defense counsel, and interfacing with key U.S. officials in the U.S. and in Argentina.
Represented CSC Sugar LLC in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations.
Representation of a major European oil and gas company in connection with a dispute with a Latin American independent over a joint operating agreement relating to development of a natural gas field in Bolivia.
Represented a leading industry coalition in the rulemaking proceeding on the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Advised one of the 300 largest companies in the world on a major DOJ and SEC investigation of potential FCPA violations in India, Latin America and elsewhere.
Representation of Occidental Petroleum and an affiliate, as co-lead counsel, in successfully obtaining the largest BIT/ICSID award rendered to date (approximately US$2.3 billion, including interest) in an arbitration against Ecuador for breaches of the U.S.-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty and a production sharing agreement.
Engaged by a Fortune 500 Life Sciences company to coordinate the investigation of suspected FCPA violations in various countries, including Brazil, and to advise the company’s Internal Audit Department on conducting FCPA audits to ensure compliance.
Won more than $2 billion in compensation and interest in an ICSID arbitration for subsidiaries of ExxonMobil Corp. related to the uncompensated expropriation of their investments in Venezuela.
A Korean infrastructure company has asked us for assistance in recovering a substantial arbitral award in Mexico, which the Mexican government is challenging.
When a major Latin-American government’s procurement financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) appeared to lock out foreign competitors, a private company turned to us for advice and discreet action. With our knowledge of the country, and of IDB and other multilateral procurement regulations, and relationships with key officials, we were able to persuade the IDB to take quick remedial action which ensured the company a new opportunity to compete fairly in a new procurement with no damage to their relationships in Latin America.
Representation of a satellite provider in seeking broader access to markets in China, Mexico and elsewhere, which allowed us to combine our trade and communications expertise.
Represent Deutsche Asset Management on regulatory aspects of a biofuels project in Latin America.
A company facing a criminal investigation in Latin America turned to us for legal and policy advice.
Representation of a global consumer products company in connection with recognition and enforcement matters arising out of a favorable ICC award issued in the United States, a related U.S. confirmation ruling, and conflicting judicial proceedings in Brazil brought by joint venture partners who are dissatisfied with the ICC arbitration award.
Representation of a major U.S. insurance company in respect of potential claims against the Argentine Republic under the U.S.-Argentina bilateral investment treaty (settled).
A global U.S. manufacturing company asked us to develop a range of strategies to protect its investment in Venezuela.
We advised and represented an agro-industrial client dealing with possible expropriation in Colombia of significant portions of its land-holdings.
Represented One Equity Partners (OEP), the private equity fund, in connection with the acquisition of a minority interest in Grupo Phoenix, a consumer goods packaging company with operations in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States.
Represent Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico, Inc. (CCPR), in a lawsuit alleging that CCPR’s Malta India product contains the chemical 4-MEI in quantities above the safe harbor level, and that CCPR has failed to label Malta India products sold in California with the warning required by California’s Proposition 65.
Representing a Korean engineering and construction company in its continuing efforts to recover nearly $400 million, which it won in an ICC arbitration almost 10 years ago, against a Mexico government owned oil & gas company.
Assist Raízen Energía S/A with various strategic partnerships and licensing relationships connected with the development of technologies and construction of facilities for the production of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil.
Representation of multiple clients in ICSID arbitrations arising out of the expropriation of their investments in nationwide FM-frequency radio-broadcasting licenses in Hungary.
Represent Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority in parallel civil and criminal enforcement proceedings for alleged Clean Water Act violations.
Managed anti-corruption due diligence and follow-up with respect to Latin America sales channels for a leading pharmaceutical company, as well as providing general anti-corruption counseling with respect to the company’s Brazilian affiliate.
Representation of the owner of a major oil refinery in Texas in an ad hoc commercial arbitration against an offshore property insurer, seeking insurance coverage for an US$82 million loss sustained as a result of a criminal wire fraud conspiracy relating to shipping contracts for the transport of crude oil from South America to the U.S.
Represent the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the clean-up of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at Vieques bombing range.
Won the dismissal of more than 6,000 alien tort claims against Chiquita arising from extortion payments made by Chiquita’s Colombian subsidiary to armed groups in that country.
Provided UK Bribery Act advice to a large health insurance company regarding operations in Brazil.
Represented Copa Airlines in a technology services agreement with Sabre for its SabreSonic Customer Sales & Service (CSS) reservations system.
Counseled our client, a construction material supplier, in connection with a state government construction project partially funded by federal grant funds, and persuaded the prime contractor to accept Mexican-sourced construction material consistent with applicable federal grant restrictions.
Representation of U.S. energy companies, which were then subsidiaries of E.ON, in an ICSID arbitration against Argentina arising out of measures taken by the government against the claimants’ investments in gas-distribution companies in Argentina, resulting in an award for damages (annulment proceedings pending).
Representation of Tidewater, a leading provider of maritime support services to the energy industry, and its subsidiaries in a pending ICSID arbitration against Venezuela arising out of the expropriation of 15 vessels and other investments in Venezuela.
Representation of MTD, a Malaysian construction and development company and its subsidiary in an ICSID arbitration against Chile concerning claims for breach of the bilateral investment treaty between Malaysia and Chile, resulting in an award for the claimants that was sustained in annulment proceedings.
Representation of Hess and Tullow affiliates in a pending ICSID Additional Facility conciliation proceeding against Equatorial Guinea arising out of tax measures that the claimants allege to be in breach of a contract between the parties.
Representation of subsidiaries of Tidewater, Inc., the world’s leading provider of maritime services to the oil industry, in an ICSID arbitration arising out of the expropriation of certain investments in Venezuela.
Representation of Sanofi in connection with obtaining clearances from the European Commission and in China, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and Ukraine for its collaboration with Google Life Sciences, Inc., now Verily, relating to diabetes management products and services.
Represented a large Puerto Rican construction company and its principal in suspension and debarment proceedings before the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, resulting in a decision of no debarment.
Represented an ExxonMobil subsidiary in an ICC arbitration against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA, resulting in a US$908 million award for breach of contract.
Advised a global pharmaceutical company on the data breach notification requirements in more than 80 countries, following a security breach affecting employees in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
June 24, 2016, Covington Alert
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in an advisory referendum. 52% leave - 48% remain.
Were the UK to leave the EU, this would have significant implications for the UK and for international businesses operating in the UK. The longer term impact of the decision on the regulatory framework for the UK will depend, in part, on the relationship that the UK ...
May 10, 2016, Global Policy Watch
There is considerable turmoil in several Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. To gain some insight into what lies ahead in our southern hemisphere and the likely impact on business in the area, Global Policy Watch (GPW) spoke with Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and ...
April 19, 2016, Global Policy Watch
Since President Obama announced the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba in December of 2014, U.S. businesses have begun to plan for the eventual lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. While the Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to jumpstart interactions between U.S. businesses and the Cuban private sector, including easing travel ...
April 4, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO AND NEW YORK — Latinvex has again selected Covington partners Tammy Albarrán and Nicole Duclos to its annual list of the “Top 100 Female Lawyers” specializing in Latin America among international law firms.
Latinvex chose attorneys from 57 law firms and ten practice areas. The criteria for selection included a combination of factors, including ...
March 11, 2016, Global Arbitration Review
Miguel López Forastier is quoted in this Global Arbitration Review article regarding a recent ruling in favor of client Tidewater after an ad hoc ICSID committee finds it had the power to order a partial stay of enforcement resulting in an award of $27.4 million in damages. According to López Forastier, this decision is a “first of its kind.”
January 29, 2016
NEW YORK — Latinvex has named Covington partner Gabriel Mesa among its “Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers” for the third year in a row.
Resident in the firm’s New York office, Mr. Mesa counsels corporations in joint ventures and private mergers and acquisitions in Latin America and other emerging markets, as well as in the United States. His work spans venture ...
January 28, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC - Law360 has named six Covington practice groups among its “Practice Groups of the Year.”
The practice groups recognized by Law360 are as follows:
December 9, 2015
NEW YORK, December 9, 2015 - Covington advised Grupo P.I. Mabe, the leading producer of hygienic products in Mexico, on its sale to Ontex Group NV, a publicly listed company based in Belgium. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
The transaction will require regulatory approvals in Mexico, the US and certain other countries, and has ...
November 18, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2015 - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) has awarded Covington a perfect score of 100 percent for the eighth consecutive year on its Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality. Covington is among 400 major US businesses that ...
September 17, 2015, Global Policy Watch
Proponents of increased U.S. trade with Cuba rightly point to the potential economic benefits to U.S. exporters, particularly in the food and agriculture sector, from greater trade. But achieving that potential may take more than the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. A forthcoming study from the U.S. International Trade Commission promises a … ...
September 2015, Arbitration World, Co-author
July 23, 2015, Global Arbitration Review
A piece on our new arbitration app quoting Marney Cheek, Jeremy Wilson and Stephen Bond and mentioning William Lowery’s and Catherine Karia’s roles in developing the app.
February 9, 2015
NEW YORK, February 9, 2015 — Covington & Burling is pleased to announce that Gabriel Mesa has been named to Latinvex’s list of “Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers” for the second year in a row. Mr. Mesa counsels corporations in joint ventures and private mergers and acquisitions in Latin America and other emerging markets, as well as in the United States. He has ...
February 2, 2015, Global Policy Watch
On January 30, 2015, the U.S. International Trade Commission launched a study on the economic effects of current U.S. trade and travel restrictions on U.S. trade with Cuba. The study was requested in December by then-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Senator Ron Wyden in connection with President Obama’s announcement of a change in direction … Continue ...
January 24, 2015, C-SPAN
Covington’s John Veroneau moderated a Washington International Trade Association panel discussing U.S. relations with Cuba, following President Obama’s December 2015 announcement that eased some ties between the two countries. Panelists discussed whether a full embargo lift was possible, commercial opportunities, and how the international community responded to ...
January 22, 2015, Global Policy Watch
As the new year begins, numerous Latin American issues have moved to the center stage, including Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, and Cuba. To gain some insights into what lies ahead for our southern neighbors, Global Policy Watch (GPW) spoke with Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. GPW: Dr. Valenzuela, what ...
January 8, 2015, Global Policy Watch
President Obama’s announcement that the United States is “changing its relationship with the people of Cuba” has been welcomed by many in the business community, who continue to await regulatory amendments that will implement the new policy. (For background on the President’s announcement, please see our client alert of December 17, 2014 and our audio … ...
January 7, 2015, The Diane Rehm Show
Covington's Arturo Valenzuela was a guest on The Diane Rehm Show to discuss President Obama pledging to stand with Mexico against “the scourge of violence and drug cartels.”
January 3, 2015, Reuters
Covington's Arturo Valenzuela is quoted regarding the move to normalize relations with Cuba:
"It may be some time before people in Cuba as well as U.S. businesses and others reap opportunities from Obama's new policy, said Arturo Valenzuela, the State Department's top official for Latin America in Obama's first term."
"It's clear to me that what the Cubans ...
December 21, 2014, The Washington Post
Covington's Arturo Valenzuela is quoted regarding President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba:
With the announcement last week, Washington acknowledges that, like Havana, it wants a managed, orderly transition to a post-Castro future. What that future will look like is the game going forward.
“Do we want a hard landing or a soft landing?” Arturo ...
December 19, 2014, Bloomberg
Arturo Valenzuela and John Veroneau are mentioned in the article on future business opportunities in Cuba:
"Covington & Burling LLP, in response to Obama’s speech, started what it’s calling a Cuba Working Group “to assist clients in complying with changes in U.S. sanctions, taking advantage of new business opportunities, shaping additional policy changes by ...
December 15, 2014, Global Policy Watch
The next few years will be difficult for Latin American countries. Low petroleum and commodity prices are adversely affecting the economies of the region. At the same time, there is increased pressure on the governments for economic and social reforms. Colombia, which has had a strong economy, recently passing Argentina as the third largest in … Continue ...
October 21, 2014, Global Policy Watch
The second round of the Brazilian Presidential election coming on October 26 will be decided between incumbent Dilma Rousseff from the left leaning PT (Workers Party) and the challenger Aécio Neves from the centrist PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party). The stakes are huge for the country and for companies doing business in Brazil. Not so … Continue Reading
October 1, 2014, Global Arbitration Review
Covington's Nicole Duclos is featured in this article on her recent promotion to partner:
"Duclos’s promotion is effective today. She joined Covington in September 2013, bringing with her two former Allen & Overy associates, Erin Thomas and Thomas Odell."
"Unsurprisingly given her Chilean nationality, much of her arbitration practice focuses on South America. ...
August 25, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, August 25, 2014 — Covington & Burling has been named to Latinvex’s “Legal 50,” a list of top international law firms doing work in Latin America. The firm ranked seventh among the top 15 firms doing international arbitration work in Latin America and 27th overall. Latinvex evaluated more than 100 international law firms and selected the top 50 ...
August 13, 2014, Buenos Aires Herald
Covington's Allan Topol talks to the Herald about his latest book, The Argentine Triangle.
"Craig Page, CIA agent and lead character in Allan Topol’s novels, has taken his author all over the world. With Craig and his next adventure always in mind, Topol has travelled to China, Russia and Spain to see for himself the next setting for his character’s patriotic ...
August 12, 2014, CDR News
Covington partner Tammy Albarrán is quoted regarding Brazil’s anti-bribery law, known as the Clean Companies Act, which imposes civil and administrative liability for a range of corruption-related offenses:
“A company can be held strictly liable for any act of a director, officer, employee or agent that benefits the company without establishing any individual’s ...
July 24, 2014, Law360
Covington is mentioned in regards to securing an appellate victory on behalf of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Chiquita Fresh North America LLC in long-running litigation brought by more than six thousand Colombian plaintiffs.
July 24, 2014, American Lawyer, Litigation Daily
In a statement of his own, Covington's John Hall said the company is gratified that the court "faithfully followed Kiobel and held that the Alien Tort Statute doesn't confer jurisdiction over these plainly extraterritorial claims." He also said that plaintiffs lawyers have misrepresented Chiquita's guilty plea, "trying to make it appear that Chiquita's ...
June 18, 2014, Global Policy Watch
Pity poor Argentina. It was recently reported that Colombia had passed Argentina as the third largest economy in Latin America after Mexico and Brazil. If that wasn’t bad enough, tiny Uruguay is exporting more beef than Argentina. Inflation in Argentina was 30 percent last year; this year it could be 40 per cent. It is … Continue Reading
June 12, 2014, The Washington Post
Covington & Burling worked pro bono with Kids in Need of Defense, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance for families to petition to receive minors from border detention.
"The greater Washington region, with more than 400,000 residents of Central American origin, is one of several metropolitan areas in the U.S. where the newly arrived minors are most likely ...
May 30, 2014, Global Policy Watch
The results of the Colombian election last Sunday were not a surprise. Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, whose party Centro Democratico is associated with former president Alvaro Uribe, won 29.25% of the vote, while incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos representing Partido de la U garnered 25.69%, a margin of over 450,000 votes between the two. This sends … Continue ...
May 27, 2014, Global Policy Watch
Although news headlines have focused on the severe challenges to world order stemming from the crisis in Ukraine and the continuing conflicts in the Middle East, mounting economic and political problems in Venezuela have profound implications for the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere and for international companies with investments in one ...
August 9, 2013, Covington Advisory
WASHINGTON, DC, July 11, 2013 — Thomson Reuters has ranked Covington & Burling among the Top 20 legal advisers worldwide in completed M&A transactions in emerging markets during the first half of 2013. Covington ranked among the top 10 for deals involving China and the Asia Pacific region, and among the top 15 for deals involving Latin America. “We have made a ...
June 28, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, June 28, 2013 — Covington & Burling’s international arbitration practice has been shortlisted for a Chambers Latin America Award for Excellence. The awards recognize notable achievements over the past year, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth, and excellence in client service. The Chambers Latin America Awards for Excellence ...
June 13, 2013, Covington E-Alert
April 25, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, April 25, 2013 — Arturo Valenzuela, Covington & Burling’s senior advisor for Latin America and former assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, was a featured speaker at the 2013 World Economic Forum held in Lima from April 23 to 25. Mr. Valenzuela focused on the recent economic, geopolitical and leadership transitions that are ...
November 8, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2011 — Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, a former senior State Department official who held key positions in formulating and executing U.S. foreign policy towards the Americas, is joining Covington & Burling, strengthening the firm’s ability to assist Latin American and U.S.-based corporations expand their global presence.
Dr. Valenzuela joins ...
February 17, 2010, Covington Advisory