Brazil’s Odebrecht to pay $2.6bn fine for corruption

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Odebrecht is negotiating plea deals in 12 Latin American countries

[BBC] – A US judge has formally fined Brazil’s engineering giant Odebrecht $2.6bn in a corruption case centred around the country’s state oil company, Petrobras.

The fine was a plea bargain deal agreed last year with the US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities. The judge said Brazil will receive $2.39bn, with the rest going to the Swiss and US authorities.

The US charged Odebrecht with bribery in 12 countries in Latin America, with some bribes flowing through US banks. Odebrecht, and its affiliated petrochemical company Braskem SA, pleaded guilty in December in a deal designed to draw a line under the company’s wrongdoings.

Monday’s order comes as the company tries to negotiate plea deals with other governments so that it can be allowed to tender for future major infrastructure projects. The countries include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama and Portugal.

In Brazil, Latin America’s largest construction company was one of a group of contractors alleged to have conspired with politicians and oil company executives to take billions in bribes and kickbacks from Petrobras.

The charges against Odebrecht stem from a three-year investigation into Petrobras which has led to the arrest of dozens of business leaders including CEO Marcelo Odebrecht, who is serving a 19-year jail sentence.

Brazilian President Michel Temer said he expects some of his ministers to resign after they were implicated in the investigation.