Brazilian court reinstates ban on Odebrecht bidding for Petrobras contracts

Brazilian engineering and construction giant Odebrecht will not be able to resume tendering for contracts with Petrobras after a Rio de Janeiro court revoked a previous injunction, according to Reuters.

The injunction that was overturned had been granted last month. It backed Odebrecht’s case to end a Petrobras-imposed ban on contractors who had been implicated in the massive bribes-for-inflated-contracts scandal swirling around Brazil’s state oil firm.

Odebrecht was the most prominent of those firms and the ban – imposed in December 2014 – blocked its oil and gas division Odebrecht Oil and Gas (OOG) from bidding for Petrobras business.

The decision to revoke last month’s injunction reinstates the ban pending the results of the massive Operation Car Wash probe being undertaken by Brazilian authorities.

Numerous Petrobras executives took bribes from contractors (both domestic and foreign) and politicians were slipped kickbacks to look the other way or facilitate the graft.

By Petrobras’ own, probably conservative, accounting the contracts scam cost the firm more than $2bn.

The scandal is so far-reaching it has brought Brazil to a political and economic crisis point.

In March Odebrecht’s former head, Marcelo Odebrecht, was sentenced in a Sao Paulo federal court to more than 19 years in jail for corruption and money laundering. Other senior Odebrecht personnel were also handed hefty jail terms.

In May US investment firm EIG Management included Odebrecht among defendants in a $221m lawsuit claiming they misled EIG with fraudulent information to invest in Sete Brasil, a Petrobras oil rig-chartering subsidiary that went bankrupt in April.

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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