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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Brazil’s Petrobras unveils details of debentures issue

Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 5/27/2015

Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, unveiled details of its debentures issue on the local debt market, which could total up to 4.05 billion reais ($1.28 billion).

The company will issue the debentures in five series, with different maturity dates of five-, seven- and 10 years. The company will sell a total of 3 billion reais in debentures and it can increase the offer by 1.05 billion reais to accommodate potential strong demand from investors.

The company said that the debentures of the first and second series will pay an annual yield of up to 2.15 percentage points over the interbank rate, called DI, which is 11.4% a year.

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In Brazil, FIFA scandal met with sense of vindication

Taylor Barnes – USA Today Sports, 05/28/2015

As word of the arrests of 14 FIFA officials and sports executives spread, many Brazilians responded with surprise, a measure of support and a sense of vindication over the news.

The country has seen large-scale protests since 2013, often directed at the government with many exasperated with expenditures on last year’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host next year.

In the year since the World Cup, outsize stadiums built in cities across Brazil that do not have soccer clubs large enough to fill them have reportedly been used as bus parking lots, and venues to host children’s parties, weddings and religious events.

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