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First executives convicted in Petrobras scandal

July 21, 2015

Three construction executives have been convicted of corruption in the money laundering scandal that has rocked Brazil. Executives from the public oil company Petrobras have been accused of bribery and money laundering.

Image: picture alliance/CITYPRESS 24

Three construction industry executives from Brazil's Camargo Correa group were convicted of money laundering, corruption and other charges on Monday, making the trio the first executives to be sentenced in the sweeping price fixing and bribery scandal surrounding state-run oil company Petrobras.

Dalton dos Santos Avancini, CEO of Camargo Correa Construcoes e Participacoes SA, Eduardo Hermelino Leite, a senior executive and Ricardo Auler, the company chairman, were found guilty of corruption and membership in a criminal organization. The former two were also convicted on 38 counts of money laundering.

Avancini and Leite each received sentences of 16 years and four months in prison and were ordered to pay fines of 1.3 million reais ($406,250/375,570 euros). However, for their assistance in the case Judge Sergio Moro reduced the sentence to four months time already served, and one year house arrest with electronic monitoring, to be followed by two to six years of modified house arrest.

Modified house arrest means that if the sentence is approved in 2016, the duo would be free to leave their homes during the day, but would have to return all night and on weekends or face jail time.

Auler, on the other hand, was handed a sentence of nine years and six months in prison, to be served in a penitentiary, and a fine of 627,150 reais. Moro said that any relaxation in his sentence was dependent upon the return of illegally obtained funds.

The convictions came on the same day federal police formally accused Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht SA, the largest construction conglomerate in Latin America, of playing a role in the scandal.

Odebrecht was arrested in June as part of Brazil's "Operation Car Wash" investigation involving Petrobras, which alleges that Petrobras executives accepted bribes in return for lucrative construction contracts offered at inflated prices.

The scandal has even touched Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who chaired the company's board from 2003 to 2010.

es/cmk (AFP, Reuters)