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Former head of Odebrecht gets 19 years in Petrobras case

The former head of Brazilian engineering and construction giant Odebrecht was jailed on Tuesday for 19 years and four months in relation to his role in the huge Petrobras corruption scandal, according to Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

The sentence, passed by a Brazilian federal judge in Sao Paulo, was handed down to Marcelo Odebrecht for corruption and money laundering.

Odebrecht, Latin America’s biggest building firm, is one of the most prominent contracting companies involved in the scandal which has exposed a widespread network of bribes and kickbacks to secure overpriced contracts with Petrobras the state oil firm.

It has ensnared executives at Petrobras and at contractor firms (both Brazilian and foreign) as well as politicians with the country’s ruling Workers Party.

Billionaire Marcelo Odebrecht’s lawyers are still intending to fight the sentence, alleging judicial bias from the bench by judge Sergio Moro.

Also on Tuesday two other former Odebrecht executives, Marcio Faria and Rogerio Santos, received identical sentences of 19 years and four months.

Last month Swiss authorities arrested former Odebrecht executive Fernando Migliaccio da Silva in connection with the Petrobras case.

In January the former director of Petrobras’ international division, Jorge Zelada, received a four-year sentence for favouring Odebrecht in a 2010 contract bid process.

And only last week former national president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, was brought in for questioning in connection with the scandal after raids on several locations associated with him.

He was released but that arrest has sparked fears of street conflict between Lula supporters who smell a political vendetta and Lula opponents who say the powerful must not be above justice.

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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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