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Brazil prosecutors and Odebrecht executives to sign world's biggest plea and leniency deal

The 'Valor Economic' newspaper has reported that executives with the Odebrecht engineering group are to sign a leniency agreement and agree to pay $2.1 billion in fines. It is the largest deal of its kind since 2008.

Eight months after jailing CEO Marcelo Odebrecht to 19 years in jail for paying $30 million (28.4 million euros) in bribes to executives of Petrobras, a reported 78 Odebrecht executives and staff have agreed to join the plea deal.

Brasilien Marcelo Odebrecht Verhaftung (picture-alliance/dpa/H. Alves)

Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht Engineering

Federal prosecutors and the Salvador, Bahia-based engineering group have agreed a fine of around 7 billion reais ($2.1 billion / 1.9 billion euros) related to Brazil's biggest corruption scandal, according to Brazilian media.

If confirmed it would be the biggest agreement of its kind since German engineering giant Siemens paid $1.6 million to US and European authorities in 2008 for paying bribes to win government contracts.

Odebrecht staff are expected to start testifying within two or three weeks.

The company has been accused by prosecutors of overcharging state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA and other state companies for contracts and paying bribes to politicians.

Temer connections

Brazil's President Michel Temer has been named as a recipient of a large donation from the jailed CEO Odebrecht by the magazine Veja. Temer's spokesman has claimed the support was "all legal." Temer took over the presidency after elected President Dilma Roussef was impeached and removed from office in August.

Brasilien Michel Temer in Brasilia (Agência Brasil/Valter Campanato)

President Michel Temer

The deal, which was formalized on Wednesday, allows Odebrecht to bid for new government contracts and lifts a suspension imposed over its involvement in the graft and bribery scheme at state companies.

Leniency deal

A separate leniency deal is to be signed on Thursday, according to news channel GloboNews, who reported on Wednesday "Odebrecht executives sign agreement with the Attorney General's Office:"

The Swiss government agreed last month to provide information to Brazilian investigators on transactions Odebrecht officials carried out through its banks. US and Swiss authorities have agreed to levy only fines and not seek jail time for any Odebrecht executives.

The leniency deal needs approval from federal Judge Sergio Moro. Along with prosecutors and police in the southern city of Curitiba, Moro has led the Petrobras probe, which began more than two years ago.

jm/bw (Reuters, AFP)

 

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