Odebrecht corruption scandal
In 2014 the Brazilian Operation Carwash, Port. Operação Lava Jato, probe was begun, initially into money laundering but soon expanding to the bribes and illegal campaign contributions paid by companies, including Odebrecht, to many prominent politicians and officials in exchange for contracts at inflated prices with Petrobras. Subsequent investigations concerning Oldebrecht's wrongdoing revealed the largest international bribery scandal in modern history—the company admitted to paying $800 million in bribes—and the revelations roiled politics in Brazil and other affected nations. In 2016 the company and Braskem S.A., an affiliate, settled with the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland for at least $3.5 billion under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribery and illegal financing involving Petrobras in 12 countries, among them Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela; some of bribes had been transferred through U.S. banks. Other investigations into the company's dealing are ongoing internationally. More than 70 Odebrecht executives have confessed to crimes and signed plea deals with Brazilian investigators to shorten their jail sentences; some politicians who have been implicated by the confessions have accused the executives of lying in order to shorten their sentences. In Peru, the investigations have involved four presidents and other politicians and officials. Marcello Odebrecht, the company's CEO, received a 19-year sentence in the scandal; Ecuador's vice president, Jorge Glas, is the highest ranking government official to have been convicted (2017) in the scandal. The scandal severely damaged Odebrecht's reputation, resulting in a drop in its business (which contributed to Brazil's 2015–16 recession) and leading to the company's seeking bankruptcy protection in 2019.
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