Who Am I Dealing With

Who Am I Dealing With

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It’s one thing to contract with a multinational company that everyone knows. Yet most foreign investors know little about their foreign counterparts when doing business in Brazil. Imagine entering into a joint venture with a business partner you’ve never met. This is all the more reason to do a bit of due diligence before you commit to a deal.

Internet searches are great. You never know what information you’ll find in a quick Google search. For example, social media accounts, including LinkedIn pages, can help confirm that you’re dealing with a serious business. But perhaps that isn’t enough considering the potential risk.

In some cases, a more in-depth, professional search may be worth exploring. Lawyers can pull court and notary certificates that could identify pending litigation, criminal history, liens, and outstanding debts. They can also obtain financial background reports with credit history.

While name and address are important for running searches in Brazil, the most important piece of information is a person’s CPF or a company’s CNPJ. Most searches require one of these tax identification numbers as they are the only way to ensure you’re getting information about the right person or entity.

And remember – due diligence doesn’t just apply to your business partners. You should check the background of your professional advisers as well. Don’t just trust that your “lawyer” is really a lawyer or that your “accountant” is really an accountant. The Brazilian Bar Association and the Federal Accounting Council each have online searches where you can confirm who you’re dealing with.

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