Odebrecht ordered to pay $2.6bn in fines for bribery

Brazil’s largest engineering company, Odebrecht, has been ordered to pay $2.6bn in fines for its role in a vast bribery scheme.

A US judge sentenced the company this week on 17 April following a plea deal between the company and US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities, Reuters reports

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

Prosecutors charged Odebrecht with paying about $788m in bribes to officials in 12 countries, mostly in Latin America, to secure contracts.

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

The US Justice Department dubbed the case the "largest foreign bribery case in history". According to its admissions, Odebrecht engaged in a massive and unparalleled bribery and bid-rigging scheme for more than a decade, beginning as early as 2001.

This week US District Judge Raymond Dearie said at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court that Odebrecht will pay around $2.39bn to Brazil, $93m to the US, and $116m to Switzerland.

The 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, Reuters reported.

Reuters added that Brazilian President Michel Temer said on Monday he expects some of his ministers to resign after they were accused of wrongdoing by Odebrecht executives in plea bargain testimonies and placed under investigation by a Supreme Court justice in Brazil.

Image: Panama’s Metro Line 1, one of Odebrecht’s many projects projects outside Brazil (Odebrecht)

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