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Lava Jato Investigators Find Evidence of Payment from Odebrecht to 316 Politicians

03/24/2016 - 09h49



The Federal Police has found records of payment from the engineering conglomerate Odebrecht to nearly 316 politicians from 24 parties. The transfers were made during the municipal election campaigns of 2012 and the national elections of 2014.

The names of government ministers, senators and congressmen appear in the records - all of whom would be entitled to face any eventual criminal charges in the Supreme Court.

It is still unclear whether the payments are campaign donations or simply bribes. Even if they do not appear on the accounts filed with the Higher Electoral Court, it is still possible that they constitute so-called "hidden donations": transfers made legally to parties, which are then passed on to specific candidates.

The documents were seized during searches of a property belonging to the Odebrecht executive Benedicto Barbosa Júnior, during the 23rd phase of Operation Lava Jato in February, which was investigating the former Workers' Party (PT) strategist and spin doctor João Santana.

As part of the 26th phase of the operation, launched on Tuesday (22), investigators aim to determine whether the transfers are part of a parallel accounting system within Odebrecht. They have yet to arrive at a conclusion as to the legality of the payments.

Judge Sergio Moro, who is overseeing the Lava Jato trials, has declared the information relating to the politicians found in the documents to be classified. The documents had been public until Wednesday morning (23).

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress
A federal police agent is pictured in front of the headquarters of Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht
A federal police agent is pictured in front of the headquarters of Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht

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