Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday revealed that engineering giant Odebrecht had a highly organized, even automated, system for making bribe payments such as those in its contract dealings with state oil firm Petrobras, according to Reuters.
But the system went beyond the activities in the spotlight of the Operation Carwash investigation into how officials at Petrobras – a huge oil producer, offshore and on land – took graft payments to accept over-inflated contract proposals from Odebrecht and others.
The prosecutors say Odebrecht, Latin America’s biggest construction firm, was using the same methods of bungs and payoffs in World Cup soccer stadium deals and other big infrastructure projects.
Odebrecht’s culture of bribery was deeply entrenched and went right to the top, to former CEO Marcelo Odebrecht who was sentenced two weeks ago to more than 19 years in jail for corruption and money laundering. Two other Odebrecht executives received the same sentence.
Prosecutors say that the payola was so systematic the bribes even continued after Marcelo Odebrecht was arrested in June last year.