EspañolOn Thursday, December 10, Brazilian prosecutors charged 36 executives with corruption, money laundering and profiteering, as part of the ongoing corruption scandal involving state-owned petroleum company Petrobras.
The charges, issued by the Attorney General’s office of the Brazilian state of Paraná, involve senior managers from leading construction companies OAS, Camargo Correa, UTC Engenharia, Galvao Engenharia, Mendes Junior and Engevix.
The 36 individuals — of which 22 are linked with the construction firms — are accused of forming a cartel in order to manipulate Petrobras bids and funneling kickbacks both towards the ruling Workers’ Party and opposition parties.
Prosecutor Delton Dallagnol described the maneuvers as a “marked card game” between the country’s largest firms to secure Petrobras bids. The executives allegedly then went on to launder the money through a complex scheme.
“The companies simulated a competitive environment, defrauded competition, and, in secret meetings, agreed who was to win the bids,” said the prosecutor.
Among the accused is Paulo Roberto Costa, former director of Refining and Supply at Petrobras, who first revealed the elaborate scheme to prosecutors, and jailed foreign exchange trader Alberto Yousseff, identified as the crucial figure in the money laundering scheme. Both will benefit for reduced jail time in exchange for their testimony.
“This is about a vast network of corruption, in which they paid bribes ranging between 1 and 5 percent of the value of each contract with Petrobras, and which involved corrupt companies and corrupt officials,” explained Dallagnol.
The case for the prosecution records 154 separate acts of corruption, and expects accused companies to repay some R$1 billion (around US$376 million).
“This is the start of the investigation; we have a long way to go,” said Brazilian Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot. “These people stole the pride of the Brazilian people.”
EspañolAmado Boudou will become the first Argentinean vice president to be put on trial. On Thursday, federal judge Claudio Bonadio presented the case against Boudou, alleging the vice president falsified documents related to his purchase of an imported car more than 20 years ago. The trial could begin sometime in 2015, although a human-rights violations case filed in the same court may cause it to be postponed. Boudou is accused of various irregularities regarding the legal procedures required to transfer a car. Prosecutors note the presence of forged signatures, from both the vice president and the notary who supervised the purchase, a non-existent home address, and a forged engine serial number. According to District Attorney Guillermo Marijuán, Boudou, along with his ex-wife and other people that were involved in the proceeding, “worked together to transfer false documentation in an irregular fashion.” This crime is punishable by up to 6 years in jail and disqualification from public office for double the amount of time served in prison. The decision was announced a day after the appeals court discarded a request submitted by Boudou’s defense to cancel the judicial proceeding. The judges believed that the request to bring the case against the Argentinean vice president to trial was “clear, precise, and detailed.” Beyond these specific charges, Boudou has for months been under investigation for a series of alleged corruption charges during his tenure in public office. Cristina Kirchner’s vice president was indicted in June for another irregular purchase in 2010: the company responsible for printing the country's currency. Boudou, then the Economy Minister, is said to have used his influence within the Kirchner administration to lift the company out of bankruptcy. Then, through a series of complex maneuvers, acquired the company. He faces charges of bribery and conduct unbecoming of a public official. The list of accusations, however, does not stop there. The vice president is also being investigated for receiving gifts in the form of free flights in private jets, illicit profits gained from irregular asset declarations, and the purchase of 19 high-end vehicles during his tenure as Economy minister. Source: La Nación.