OAS Group to pay $458m in corruption leniency deal

After an 11-month negotiation, Brazilian construction giant OAS yesterday agreed to pay around $458m (1.92 billion reais) in a leniency agreement with the Brazilian government following the country’s massive "Lava Jato" corruption probe.

The company has until 2047 to settle the bill. 

Brazil’s Comptroller General said the amount involves the "payment of damages, illicit enrichment and fines under fraudulent contracts involving federal public resources". 

To get the deal, OAS Group gave evidence on illicit acts committed by more than 304 individuals and 184 legal entities.

The Lava Jato probe, which rocked the political establishments of Brazil and other countries, found that construction companies formed a cartel in 2003 to overcharge state agencies for building contracts, and then paid some of the illicit cash to executives and politicians.

OAS is the eleventh Brazilian company to agree a deal, and its settlement figure is the third highest so far, behind Braskem SA’s 2.87 billion reais, and Odebrecht’s 2.72 billion reais.

The new management of OAS welcomed the deal, saying it reopened the door to public sector contracts.

Company president Josedir Barreto said the "reckoning" with past misdeeds "opens the door to the future we want and we work daily to build a solid, ethical company that fulfils its obligations and generates wealth and jobs for the country".

In its statement OAS said the deal "perfectly fits the company’s ability to comply, without compromising its cash flow, and which certainly strengthens legal certainty in the fight against corruption".

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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