Oderbrecht, a Brazilian construction company mired in a corruption scandal, agreed to settle anticorruption lawsuits with authorities in Brazil, the United States, and Switzerland yesterday by paying a settlement of “between $2.6 billion and $4.5 billion”. The Wall Street Journal called the settlement “the largest anticorruption settlement in history”.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued the company sued the company over a corruption scheme that involved Oderbrecht overcharging governments for contracts through bribery. In Brazil, the investigation into Oderbrecht’s corrupt practices eventually resulted in the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.
The Wall Street Journal points out that “the corruption went beyond… Brazil”, because Oderbrecht paid as much as $800 million in bribes over fifteen years to foreign officials in 12 countries, including Venezuela. According to information from court documents, Venezuelan officials received $98 million in Bribes from Oderbrecht, second only to Brazilian officials in the “total in bribes received” category. ‘
It is not immediately clear which Venezuelan officials received bribes, or which Oderbrecht projects in the country are suspected of having involved bribery.
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup called yesterday on Oderbrecht to release the names of any Venezuelan officials who received bribers from the company.
Florida Men Charged with Money Laundering for Venezuelan Officials
Reuters reported yesterday that two Florida men were arrested yesterday over allegations that they laundered $100 million in dirty money for Venezuelan officials through a construction company they operated. The men are Luis Diaz Jr. and his son, Luis Javier Diaz, owners of the Miami Equipment & Export Co.
The case is being prosecuted by district attorney Preet Bharara, fresh off his courtroom victory in securing a conviction for conspiracy to traffic drugs in the case of Maduro’s nephews, Efrain and Francisco Flores.
According to Reuters, the Diaz’s company began to move money into the United States on behalf of “a large consortium of Venezuelan construction companies” starting in 2010. In all, the consortium transferred $100 million into the Diaz’s company, which the men then shifted to a network of banks across the world.
As an example of what one of these transactions looked like, Reuters points out that in 202, the Diaz’s company received $4.36 million from the consortium, and then deposited $1.45 million to a shell company in Portugal owned by a Venezuelan “with ties to Venezuelan government officials”. Another $2.55 million went into a shell company in the British Virgin Islands owned by one of the executives of the consortium, while the Diaz’s company kept $87,218 in “fees”.
The official name of the case is U.S. v. Diaz, et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-mj-8150.
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