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News > Latin America

US$3.4m in Illegal Odebrecht Payments Uncovered

  • Former Odebrecht director, Marcelo Odebrecht.

    Former Odebrecht director, Marcelo Odebrecht. | Photo: EFE

Published 25 July 2018

The informants provided new details about the money route used by the Odebrecht construction company for its criminal business in Argentina.

Vinicius Claret Vieira Barreto and Claudio Fernando Barboza de Souza, both former executives at Odebrecht and detained by police, detailed that the construction giant resorted to its clandestine networks to transfer at least US $ 3.4 million into Buenos Aires, Argentina between 2013 and 2014.

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The years encompass a period in which the construction company acknowledged that it had paid "tips" to Argentine officials.

The informants provided details about the money route used by the Odebrecht construction company for its criminal business in Argentina, according to their confessions.

Claret Vieira and Fernando Barboza even detailed the various stages of the financial operations, via Uruguay, until the money arrived in Buenos Aires. They named Carlos Estevan Palacio (sic) and Gabriel Bronstein, who were identified as two Odebrecht executives who received the money in Argentina.

The testimonies of Claret and Barboza provide insights into the Argentine chapter of the infamous Car Wash investigation in Brazil. The case has spread to at least a dozen other countries in Latin America.

Nicknamed Juca Bala, Claret Vieira was arrested in Maldonado, Uruguay, on March 3, 2017, and subsequently extradited to Brazil, where he accepted to become an “award-winning informant,” confessing his crimes in exchange for a lesser sentence.

Standing before prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro, he detailed several operations in which he paid one hundred and two hundred thousand dollars to an Odebrecht executive named Carlos Estevan Palacio.

Upwards of 80 employees of Odebrecht have negotiated plea bargains and leniency deals for the company, closely tied to the Car Wash investigations. In return, they must testify about the conglomerate's central role in a scheme involving public and private contracts. Their testimonies are expected to implicate more than 100 current and former Brazilian politicians.

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