Thousands in Brazil protest corruption scandal

CBS News – 08/16/2015

Brazilians took to the streets of cities and towns across the country Sunday for anti-government protests being watched as a barometer of discontent with the increasingly unpopular President Dilma Rousseff.

Called mostly by activist groups via social media, the demonstrations assailed Rousseff, whose standing in the polls has plunged amid a snowballing corruption scandal that has embroiled politicians from her Workers’ Party as well as a sputtering economy, a weakening currency and rising inflation.

But the protests drew relatively modest crowds, likely giving the president some breathing room. Huge numbers had come out for two earlier rounds of demonstrations this year.

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Brazil businessmen sentenced to 16 years over Petrobras scandal

BBC Brazil, 8/6/2015

A judge in Brazil said former OAS president Jose Aldemario Pinheiro and Agenor Medeiros were involved in a major corruption scandal at the state-owned oil company, Petrobras.

Three other former OAS employees have been sentenced to shorter jail terms.The scandal broke last year, implicating senior politicians.Pinheiro and Medeiros were found guilty of bribing government officials, money laundering and conspiracy to commit crimes.

OAS lawyer Edward Carvalho says the company will appeal on behalf of its former employees, O Globo newspaper reported.

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Exclusive: Peru sending prosecutors to Brazil as corruption probe goes regional

Marco Aquino and Brad Haynes – Reuters, 7/20/2015

Peruvian prosecutors plan to visit Brazil this month to gather evidence of bribery on a transcontinental highway project, Peru’s attorney general said in an interview, adding to regional fallout from the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history.

The mission laid out by Peruvian Attorney General Pablo Sánchez is the most public sign yet of international cooperation on a case that has jailed heads of major Brazilian engineering groups as police comb bank records for evidence of a cartel.

Regional interest in the probe exploded last month, when Brazilian police arrested the chief executive of Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], Latin America’s biggest construction company. His arrest has put billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects in the region under fresh scrutiny.

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Brazil’s president says, ‘I’m not guilty,’ but even allies wonder if she can survive

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 7/16/2015

Last week Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, looking increasingly isolated in a deepening political crisis, gave a newspaper interview to insist: “I’m not going to fall.”

Rousseff said she was “not guilty” in the multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at the state-run oil company Petrobras, even as a criminal investigation, dubbed Operation Car Wash, tightens around leading politicians from her ruling coalition.

On Tuesday police searched houses belonging to senator and former president Fernando Collor, impeached in 1992, and other allied politicians.

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Brazil’s OAS unveils restructuring plan ahead of deadline

Silvio Cascione and Guillermo Parra-Bernaluters – Reuters, 6/20/2015

Brazilian engineering and construction conglomerate OAS S.A. late on Friday unveiled a restructuring plan to a Sao Paulo court, the latest step in a plan to avert bankruptcy amid a corruption scandal at Petróleo Brasileiro SA.

The plan, which still needs approval by the court, laid out two scenarios for the restructuring of about 8 billion reais ($2.5 billion) in debt, both counting on proceeds from asset sales and a debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan. OAS had until June 22 to present a plan.

In a statement, OAS also said it will seek a repayment agreement with some holders of senior notes due 2019 and 2021, and perpetual notes, total ling about $1.775 billion in principal. OAS signed confidentiality agreements with the noteholders to facilitate the discussions.

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Brazil: an end to dirty politics as usual?

Lucy Jordan – Global Post, 12/04/2012

Over the past few months, strange things have been afoot in Brazil.

Ordinary Brazilians have been gripped nightly by complex corruption trials. Carnival masks have been fashioned in the likeness of a staid and somber judge, rather than the usual glossy celebrity.

And, most shockingly, elite politicians have been handed prison sentences for graft.

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Anti-Corruption Views – Lessons from “the mensalão”: Brazil’s largest-ever corruption trial

Matteson Ellis – Trust Law, 8/20/2012

Right now, Brazil is in the middle of its largest corruption trial in its history. The proceeding is being called the “Mensalão,” meaning “the big monthly payment.” Thirty-eight individuals, including current and former government officials, have been accused of paying or accepting monthly bribes, money laundering, conspiracy, fraudulent management of finance institutions, and other related crimes to secure support in Congress for the legislative priorities of Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Al Jazeera recently reported: “The case is of such great importance that Brazil’s powerful Public Defender (the Ministério Público) has established a website to explain the trial to children.” Learn more background here.

In legal terms, the mensalão deals with purely domestic bribery issues. There is no indication that foreign bribery played a role in the scheme. But the case is still relevant to FCPA compliance practitioners. Here are some reasons why:

Another Sign that Brazil is Confronting Corruption. The mensalão marks the first time that such a large number of high-level individuals, both from politics and business, are going to trial for corruption. Nearly all Brazilians are talking about the case. The news is covering it every night. There are heightened expectations. The atmosphere is so charged, there is even concern among legal circles that the hysteria will lead to a miscarriage of justice – the Supreme Court is under pressure to act.

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