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Petrobras Scandal: Marcelo Odebrecht Jailed for 19 Years

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Brazilian billionaire Marcelo Odebrecht has been jailed for 19 years over a corruption scandal involving the state oil company Petrobras.

Marcelo Odebrecht was convicted of paying more than $30 million in bribes to Petrobras officials in exchange for contracts and influence.

The Odebrecht group is Latin America’s biggest construction conglomerate.

The Petrobras inquiry has led to proceedings against dozens of business executives and ruling party figures.

Last week Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, also from the governing Worker’s Party, was detained and questioned for his alleged role in the affair.

Marcelo Odebrecht

Marcelo Odebrecht

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 70, is suspected of receiving about 30 million reais ($8 million) in speaking fees and donations to his charity, the Lula Institute.


The party has held the Brazilian presidency since 2003, both under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor Dilma Rousseff.

Marcelo Odebrecht was one of Brazil’s richest and most powerful businessmen – with close relations to many top politicians.

He was found guilty of money laundering, corruption and taking part in a criminal association.

Marcelo Odebrecht had been in prison since June 2015 and stepped down from the company in December 2015 – which was founded by his family.

His company built major projects across the continent and in Africa and before the scandal had 181,000 employees in 21 countries.

The corruption scandal has cost Petrobras over $16 billion, including $2 billion that went straight to corrupt executives and companies.

Petrobras’ investments alone represent 2% of Brazil’s GDP, and its downturn has harmed a national economy struggling as a result of low commodity prices.

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