NEW YORK Ė A federal judge in New York on Monday sentenced Brazilís Odebrecht construction company to pay a $2.6 billion fine in a huge criminal corruption case involving bribing officials in a dozen Latin American and African nations.
Odebrecht will have to pay $2.39 billion in Brazil, $116 million in Switzerland and another $93 million in the United States after the sentence handed down by Judge Raymond Dearie, a spokesman for the district attorney for the eastern district of New York told EFE.
The huge fine, which was announced in a Brooklyn court, is the result of an agreement negotiated by the Brazilian firm with the US Department of Justice, as well as with Brazilian and Swiss authorities.
According to the DOJ, Odebrecht paid approximately $788 million in bribes in 12 countries, including Brazil, where it has been under investigation for more than two years within the framework of the far-reaching corruption case involving the state-run petroleum company, Petrobras.
Odebrecht is among a group of companies accused by Brazilian prosecutors of forming a cartel to overcharge Petrobras for contracts. The bribes-for-inflated contracts scandal forced Petrobras to write off some 6.2 billion reais (around $1.9 billion at the current exchange rate) in graft-related losses from the period between 2004 and 2014 and funneled massive amounts of cash to assorted politicians to provide cover for the illegal acts.
Last December, a New York court sentenced Brazilian petrochemical firm Braskem, which is controlled by the Odebrecht group, to pay a fine of $632.6 million after it pled guilty to the corruption charges filed against it.
The bribes were linked to more than 100 construction projects in Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, according to court documents.
Brazilís largest construction firm signed a cooperation agreement with the Brazilian judiciary on Dec. 1 which, besides admitting blame and agreeing to pay a fine, includes testimony offered by 77 Odebrecht executives in exchange for lighter future sentences.
The testimony taints about 200 politicians, including Brazilian President Michel Temer, with allegedly receiving bribes or payments from Petrobras and illegal campaign donations, according to media reports.