Brazil court convicts first engineering firm executives in Petrobras scandal

San Francisco: The Petrobras scandal claimed its first construction industry executives on Monday as Brazil’s courts convicted a trio from the Camargo Correa group of money laundering, corruption and other charges – but their punishments were lightened because of their cooperation in the investigation.

Dalton dos Santos Avancini (CEO of Camargo Correa Construções e Participações) João Ricardo Auler (chairman of the board of Camargo Correa Construções) and Eduardo Hermelino Leite (a senior executive of Camargo Correa Construções) were convicted in federal court in Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Parana.

Avancini and Leite were each convicted of 38 counts of money laundering.

However, their punishment will be lessened because they cooperated in the investigation. Instead of the prison sentences of 16 years and four months and fines of 1.3 million reais ($406,250), instead their jail time was reduced to just four months already served, plus a year of house arrest with electronic monitoring, followed by two to six years of modified house arrest.

The Petrobras corruption scandal has spread its tentacles into many corners of the Brazilian economy and society, with business leaders and politicians ensnared. Essentially it involved bribery in return for contracts from the state-run oil company and in turn allowed the bribing parties to fix prices. Winning contract bids were hugely overpaid. Some of the money was then kicked back to Petrobras executives and politicians as bribes and campaign contributions, according to prosecutors.

In another development on Monday federal police formally accused Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht SA , another construction firm, of having a role in the scandal.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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