Exclusive: U.S. graft probes may cost Petrobras record $1.6 billion or more

Jeb Blount & Mica Rosenberg – Reuters, 8/18/2015

Brazil’s Petrobras may need to pay record penalties of $1.6 billion or more to settle U.S. criminal and civil probes into its role in a corruption scandal, a person recently briefed by the company’s legal advisors told Reuters.

State-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, expects to face the largest penalties ever levied by U.S. authorities in a corporate corruption investigation, according to the person, who has direct knowledge of the company’s thinking. The settlement process could take two to three years, this person said.

To date, the largest settlement of corporate corruption charges with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was a 2008 agreement with Siemens AG, the German industrial giant. It agreed to pay the United States $800 million to settle charges related to its role in a bribery scheme, and paid about the same amount to German authorities.

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Odebrecht: Brazilian construction giant in the crosshairs

Daniel Gallas – BBC, 8/3/2015

Many businesses saw their operations blossom too.
Among them, one stood out as a clear winner: Odebrecht group, which owns Latin America’s biggest construction company.
Under the leadership of chief executive Marcelo Odebrecht, whose grandfather founded the company, the group more than doubled in size and revenue in 10 years.

It now has 181,000 employees in 21 countries.
The company won contracts across the world – to expand the Caracas metro system, build a port in Cuba and carry out many infrastructure projects in Africa.

When Brazilian presidents travelled abroad, Odebrecht executives were regular fixtures in the usual business entourage.

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Swiss authorities open investigation into Brazil’s Odebrecht

Will Connors – The Wall Street Journal, 7/22/2015

Swiss authorities on Wednesday said they are investigating units of the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht SA in connection with a corruption scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA, broadening an international money-laundering investigation.

The Swiss attorney general’s office alleges, in a statement, that Odebrecht units paid bribes from accounts in Switzerland into separate Swiss accounts held by former Petrobras directors. Swiss authorities didn’t name specific Odebrecht operating units or the Swiss banks involved.

Swiss authorities said they have requested help from Brazilian authorities to question suspects and “secure relevant documentary evidence” in Brazil.

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Police say phone notes tie Odebrecht to Brazil corruption

Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal, 7/21/2015

Notes on an iPhone belonging to jailed Brazilian construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht show his “clear intention” to protect two subordinates accused of directly participating in a bid-rigging and bribery scandal, federal police alleged in documents released this week.

Notes from the phone include instructions for Márcio Faria and Rogério Araújo, as well as assurances from Mr. Odebrecht that Brazil’s largest construction conglomerate, Odebrecht SA, would take care of their families, police allege. Mr. Odebrecht is chief executive of the namesake company, which was founded by his grandfather.

Several defendants in Brazil’s ongoing “Car Wash” investigation have testified that Messrs. Faria and Araújo, both former directors at Odebrecht, coordinated bribe payments and worked with a “cartel” of contractors to overcharge state-run oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SAPETR4.BR -3.74% for major projects.

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A year later, Brazil’s FIFA World Cup infrastructure still not built

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 06/07/2015

The FIFA World Cup. It promises developing nations status, stadiums with wi-fi and cup holders, roads, bridges and new airport terminals. And let’s not forget, sponsorship parties! But I digress…

Last year’s FIFA World Cup left Brazilians crying in disbelief as their national team took looked like the Muppets on the field with the Germans. The consolation prize at least was all this new development that was promised when FIFA awarded the country with the soccer championship back in October 2007. Shiny trains. More efficient airports. Less traffic in Sao Paulo. FIFA might be worth it after all.

But an investigative report Sunday by Folha de Sao Paulonewspaper shows that R$11 billion ($3.5 billion) worth of 35 projects budgeted  in 2010 are not complete and a handful of simply been abandoned. A year after the World Cup, Brazil’s FIFA projects for public transportation and airport terminal extensions at places like Guarulhos International (GRU) in Sao Paulo and Afonso Pena International (CWB) in Curitiba are incomplete.

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Brazil launches congressional inquiry into corruption after Fifa arrests

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 5/29/2015

The fallout from the police swoop on Fifa executives continues to grow in Brazil, where the police and congress have launched inquiries into alleged money laundering and tax evasion.

The focus of the investigation is the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) José Maria Marin, who was arrested in Zurich on Wednesday, but is likely to widen to include his predecessor and other senior football officials.

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US tackles Brazil’s dirty game

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 5/29/2015

Before this week, José Maria Marin was best known in Brazil for getting caught on camera in 2012 furtively pocketing a gold medal at a junior soccer awards ceremony.
The former head of Brazil’s football federation, the CBF, later barked at journalists that their obsession with the incident was “a real joke”. The medal had been a present, he insisted.

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