Brazil’s Petrobras Not A Victim Of Corruption, But A Participant

ForbesBrazilian oil company Petrobras likes to tell U.S. courts that it is a victim of corruption. It’s not their fault, it’s those nasty politicians and their friends in the private sector. Petrobras is the poor, gentle giant that funds Brazilian movie studios and wildlife conservation programs. They were pillaged and ransacked by pirates, hands up, with no one to save them.

Tell it to the judge.

In 2015, after the fall of Petrobras’ first female CEO, Maria das Gracas Foster, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff appointed Banco do Brasil chief executive Aldemir Bendine to clean house. The market liked Bendine. He was seen as someone who could lower Petrobras’ overhead. He immediately went to work announcing voluntary layoffs upwards of 12,000 strong. He permitted asset sales long held sacred by the unions that voted Dilma’s Workers’ Party into power four times in a row. Only problem was that Bendine kept on with the same agenda as those who came before him, federal prosecutors believe.

According to Marcelo Odebrecht, the namesake CEO of the company that bears his surname, Odebrecht was receiving money from and handing money to Bendine as recently as 2015. It’s a sad discovery for what is actually a good company. Unless Odebrecht is lying through his teeth, then Bendine continued with similar schemes, perhaps on a much smaller scale, during the height of the Petrobras investigation that saw a sitting president removed from office, and key politicians and executives like Marcelo jailed for many years. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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