US judge approves RM11.5bil fine for construction giant Odebrecht


  • Business
  • Monday, 17 Apr 2017

View of the headquarters of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA in Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 2, 2017. For years, Brazil-based Odebrecht, one of the region's biggest construction companies, landed huge public works contracts across Latin America by paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes. / AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA

NEW YORK: A US judge on Monday sentenced Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht SA to pay US$2.6bil (RM11.5bil) in fines in a massive criminal corruption case, signing off on a plea deal between the company and US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities.

US District Judge Raymond Dearie said at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court that about US$93mil will go to the United States, US$2.39bil to Brazil and US$116mil to Switzerland.

Odebrecht, along with affiliated petrochemical company Braskem SA, pleaded guilty to US bribery charges in December.

US authorities charged Odebrecht with paying about US$788mil in bribes to officials in 12 countries, mostly in Latin America, to secure lucrative contracts.

Some of those bribes flowed through US banks, the prosecutors said.

Monday’s order comes as Odebrecht tries to negotiate plea deals with other countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama and Portugal.

A public relations executive working for Odebrecht in Sao Paulo had no immediate comment. 

William Burck, a lawyer for Odebrecht in the United States, declined to comment after the court hearing.

The charges against Odebrecht stemmed from a nearly three-year investigation in Brazil into corruption at the state-run oil company Petrobras, which has led to dozens of arrests and political upheaval in Brazil.

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