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Leniency Agreements Bring Lava Jato Investigations to a Standstill

11/03/2017 - 10h45

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FÁBIO FABRINI
JULIO WIZIACK
FROM BRASÍLIA

Negotiations surrounding the leniency agreements (a type of plea bargain for corporations) that the Transparency Ministry is overseeing have come to a standstill, getting in the way of corruption probes in Brazil.

Eleven companies under investigation, most of which have been targeted by Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato), have had their leniency agreements suspended.

The investigation into embezzlement carried out by construction firm Engevix at state-owned company Petrobras, for example, has been put on hold for two years.

However, documents pertaining to the Union's Court of Accounts demonstrate that the construction firm never admitted to any wrongdoing, nor did it help investigators obtain new evidence. As a result, the agreement did not move forward.

Among the companies that were being investigated until the probes came to a standstill, construction firm UTC is the only one that, to this day, has managed to reach an agreement with the government.

According to the Union's Court of Accounts, which has been looking into these occurrences, not only do such decisions have no legal bearing, they also wind up inadequately benefiting the companies.

The court has elaborated a classified report in which it suggests a 60-day deadline for the Comptroller General of Brazil to fully disclose the status of all negotiations.

The department has denied irregularities, stating that its conduct is in conformity with the current laws and norms.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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