Rolls-Royce entangled in Brazil’s corruption scandal

CNN Money, 8/31/2015

Rolls-Royce, the crown jewel of British engineering, has been dragged into Brazil’s colossal corruption scandal.The company said it was cooperating with the Brazilian authorities investigating bribery at state-owned oil giant Petrobras.

“We have repeatedly made it clear that Rolls Royce will not tolerate business misconduct of any kind,” a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said. He declined further comment.

Rolls Royce (RYCEY), which supplies turbines for Petrobras’ oil drilling platforms, has been accused of giving kickbacks to officials in order to secure contracts in Brazil.

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Judge rallies Brazil to anti-graft war

Geoff Dyer – Financial Times, 9/01/2015

The Brazilian judge at the centre of the investigation into widespread corruption at Petrobras has been rallying public support for the probe just as the impact on the economy from the scandal is starting to become clearer.

In a series of events in São Paulo in recent days where he received rapturous receptions, Sérgio Moro called on the public to continue supporting the Petrobras investigation and insisted that corruption was the real danger to the economy, not its prosecution.

“Confronting systematic corruption will bring significant gains for all of us, for companies and for the economy in general,” he said at a conference of business executives on Monday. “The cost of systematic corruption is extraordinary.”

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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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Brazil President corruption scandal: amid Rousseff investigations, increasing uncertainty that leader can finish her term

Brianna Lee – International Business Times, 8/11/2015

If popular opinion alone could take down Brazil’s beleaguered President Dilma Rousseff, she would have been swept from office months ago. Her approval ratings have long been suffering, recently sinking to the lowest figures in Brazil’s history of presidential approval surveys, and support for her impeachment has been rising. Despite souring public opinion, impeachment remained at best a remote possibility, analysts have said. That tide, however, has steadily turned over the past few months.

Damage to Rousseff’s presidency is flying in from all sides. Corruption allegations have continued to mount on top of the investigation of state-run energy company Petrobras, which already has struck severe blows to Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. Dwindling political support has made it difficult for her to push through needed financial reforms as the economy continues to stagger with high inflation and unemployment. While she has not been directly implicated in any criminal acts, the confluence of scandal, public disaffection and economic malaise has encouraged a growing chorus of speculation that she may not finish the remaining three years of her second term. Still, it’s anybody’s guess as to when or how Rousseff could end up leaving office.

“A month ago I would say it was unlikely that Dilma would be impeached. It’s uncertain now,” said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. “She has not been accused of anything that would justify an impeachment, but the political equation has definitely turned against her.”

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Lava Jato changes the justice and the law

Joaquim Falcão – Folha de S. Paulo, 7/31/2015

Major investigations on corruption are changing Brazil’s justice system for the better.

A new, pragmatic generation of judges, prosecutors and police investigators put facts above doctrine. Brazil’s criminal Justice will not be the same after the Mensalão scandal – a congressional vote buying scheme tried in the country’s Supreme Court in 2012 – and the ongoing Lava Jato operation on massive fraud committed against state oil giant Petrobras. The unprecedented sentencing to jail terms of previously powerful government officials and members of Congress, in the Mensalão case, has created expectations and voters pressure for outcomes in the more serious Petrolão scandal.

Changes have occurred both in the practice of law by judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers, as well as in the doctrines and the courts, reflecting a generational change among Brazilian federal judges, prosecutors, and investigators. They are younger and have joined the judicial system at an earlier stage of their lives. They grew up in era of era of democracy and freedom of the press, decadence of traditional political parties and a society increasingly indignant about private appropriation of public goods. They are prone to protect the public’s interest and have no fear to carry out their constitutional duties.

Read original article in Portuguese here

Petrobras oil scandal leaves Brazilians lamenting a lost dream

David Segal – The New York Times, 8/7/2015

Alberto Youssef, a convicted money launderer and former bon vivant, sat in a Brazilian jail cell in March of last year, getting ready to tell his lawyers a story. It was about an elaborate bribery scheme involving Petrobras, the government-controlled oil giant. He opened with a dire prediction.

“Guys,” Mr. Youssef said, “if I speak, the republic is going to fall.”

To those lawyers, Tracy Reinaldet and Adriano Bretas, who recently recounted the conversation, this sounded a tad melodramatic. But then Mr. Youssef took a piece of paper and started writing the names of participants in what would soon become known as the Petrobras scandal. Mr. Reinaldet looked at the names and asked, not for the last time that day, “Are you serious?”

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Brazil’s Vice President sees influence grow as scandal engulfs Dilma Rousseff

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 8/7/2015

Few Brazilians gave much thought until recently to their vice president, a 74-year-old scholar of constitutional law with a bearing so formal that a political rival once compared him to “a butler from a horror movie.”

When the vice president, Michel Temer, did occasionally stray into the national spotlight, it was for his ventures into lyrical poetry (he published a book of his verses in 2013) or the attention attracted by his 32-year-old wife, Marcela, a former beauty pageant contestant who has his name tattooed on the nape of her neck.

But Mr. Temer is now emerging from the shadows as President Dilma Rousseff faces a rebellion by parties in her coalition, an economy in decline and calls for her impeachment over a colossal graft scandal involving Petrobras, the government-controlled oil giant. Whether Ms. Rousseff stays in power or is ousted, her vice president is already seeing his influence grow, taking on a more active role in day-to-day governing while reaching out to both the administration’s supporters and opponents.

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