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Former chairman of OAS jailed for 16 years over Petrobras scandal

11 August 2015 | By David Rogers | 2 Comments

A Brazilian judge has sentenced five former executives of Brazilian construction firm OAS to between 11 and 16 years in prison for their role in the Lava Jato (carwash) corruption scandal.

Those imprisoned for 16 years include former company chairman José Aldemario Pinheiro and Agenor Medeiros, the head of OAS’ international department, local media reported.

Both were found guilty of bribery, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

Petrobras’ São Paulo office (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Curitiba-based federal Judge Sergio Moro also sentenced two other former OAS executives, Mateus Coutinho de Sa Oliveira and Jose Ricardo Nogueira Breghirolli, to 11 years in prison and handed down a four-year community service sentence to former board member Fernando Stremel.

OAS is among a score of Brazilian companies suspected of involvement in the kickback scandal that went on for years and which has resulted in heavy losses for Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

According to the indictment, OAS paid a 1% fee on the value of the contracts it won to Paulo Roberto Costa, a former supply director at Petrobras.

Such fees paid by construction companies for contracts were allegedly paid by Petrobras to the ruling Workers Party in return for political favours.

One of the lawyers for Pinheiro said an appeal would be lodged against the sentence.

“Today’s sentence is just the confirmation of the prejudgment that ran throughout this process,” he said.

The scandal continues to rock the highest echelons of Brazil’s construction and engineering industries.

Last month, three former executives of the construction firm Camargo Correa also received prison sentences.

Fernando Collor de Mello, a former president of Brazil, accused of receiving roughly $7.5m in kickbacks

Former president Dalton Avancini, and former vice president, Eduardo Leite, were each sentenced to 15 years and 10 months of house arrest as part of a plea deal.

That company’s ex-chairman, Joao Ricardo Auler, who did not agree to a plea deal with prosecutors, was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison.

Last month, corruption charges were filed against the chief executives of Brazil’s two largest engineering companies, Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez.

The allegations have also reached the political sphere, with Fernando Collor de Mello, a former president of Brazil, accused of receiving roughly $7.5m in kickbacks.

Early this week, former presidential chief of staff Jose Dirceu was formally arrested on charges arising from the Petrobras investigation.

Investigations are continuing, and are reportedly focusing on electricity companies.