Brazil's Supreme Court Chief Justice Validates Odebrecht Plea Deal

Supreme Court Chief Justice validates Odebrecht plea deal

The decision has sent shivers down the spine of several high-profile politicians
Brazil Politics

Brazilian Supreme Court Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia decided on Monday morning to validate the Odebrecht plea deal. The case was under the late Justice Teori Zavascki, who died on January 19.

After Zavascki’s death, Chief Justice Cármen Lúcia authorized his aides to continue working on the plea deal. However, she kept the content of the statements under secrecy.

Involving 77 former executives, Odebrecht’s deal is the world’s largest plea bargain. It received the nickname “end of the world plea” due to its inflammatory potential.

Political consequences

In fact, the first of 77 statements made by former Odebrecht executives already went public in December. And it showed that the “end of the world” nickname was not an overstatement. Claudio Melo Filho, who negotiated bribes with politicians for 12 years, gave a list of elected officials benefiting from the scheme.

According to the whistleblower, a high-up executive at Odebrecht delivered 10 million Brazilian Reals to a close friend of Temer’s. It was a “contribution” to campaigns of the President’s party – the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party. Melo Filho stated that “Temer personally requested the money from CEO Marcelo Odebrecht.”

But President Temer claims that all actions were carried out according to Brazilian electoral law.

A Bribery Machine

For every $1 million that the company paid out to politicians, it earned back $4 million in contracts. Swiss prosecutors used these financial documents in its decision to fine the Brazilian company $200 million last week. The company’s plea deal with the Brazilian, U.S., and Swiss governments includes the payment of these fines.

Upon possession of the company’s server, investigators recuperated over 2 million pages of documents. These documents contained lists of illegal payments with dates, amounts, and names of recipients.

Furthermore, the U.S. DoJ documents show that Odebrecht paid out at least $1 billion in bribes to guarantee contracts in over 100 projects.