17.01.2023 Tiago Félix da Costa, João Matos Viana, Nuno Igreja Matos • International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG)

ICLG to Corporate Investigations 2023

Tiago Félix da Costa, João Matos Viana e Nuno Igreja Matos assinam o capítulo de Portugal do guia “ICLG to Corporate Investigations 2023”, publicado pela International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG).

“The National Strategy for Combating Corruption (2020–2024) and the subsequent entry into force of the General Regime for the Prevention of Corruption (“GRPC”) (Decree-Law No. 109-E/2021, of 9 December) and the General Regime for the Protection of Whistleblowers (Law No. 93/2021, of 20 December) (“GRPW”) have recently introduced a new legal framework on compliance and whistleblowing, including on matters relating to internal investigations. Under this framework, obliged entities (companies with 50 or more employees) are under a duty to start an internal investigation upon receiving a verbal or written report from a whistleblower. Covered entities must also give notice to the whistleblower within seven days to inform him/her that the report was received and that an external complaint may also be presented. Portuguese law also establishes a duty to inform the whistleblower of the steps envisaged or taken to act on the report. Failure to comply with these duties gives cause to regulatory offences punishable with fines that can be applicable to the company and to individuals.

On a more general standpoint, the GRPC demands companies to implement internal control and compliance systems for preventing and detecting suspicions of corruption-related acts. Accordingly, a company may be under a duty to start an internal investigation even when no report was presented but there are reasons to suspect that illegal acts have been committed. Failure to commence an internal investigation in these situations may also be seen as a breach of legal duties, punishable with similar fines”.

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