Brazil’s continuing corruption problem

Donna Bowater – BBC News, 9/16/2015

When Petrobras was named the most ethical global oil and gas company in 2008, few would have imagined that the company would now find itself at the centre of the biggest corruption investigation in Brazilian history.

But a criminal probe is indeed continuing into alleged corruption at Brazil’s largest business. A number of directors at state-run Petrobras are accused of taking bribes from construction companies, in return for awarding them lucrative contracts.

Public prosecutors and federal police claim that bribes of up to 5% of contract values were being skimmed off.

Read more…

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.

Read more…


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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…


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.

Read more…

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.

Read More…