SAO PAULO Oct 5 Brazilian industrial
conglomerate Odebrecht is on the verge of reaching a
plea deal that includes a fine of more than 7 billion reais
($2.2 billion) for its role in the country's biggest-ever
political graft scandal, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Brazilian business daily Valor Economico reported, without
saying how it obtained the information, that Odebrecht would pay
the fine over 15 years. The long-awaited accord is expected to
provide investigators with some of the most revealing testimony
yet about the vast bribery scheme centered around state-run oil
company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras,.
Newspaper Estado de S.Paulo also reported that Odebrecht
lawyers and anti-corruption investigators based in the southern
city of Curitiba had traveled to Brasilia to complete a deal
that is expected to be formalized by the federal prosecutor
general and signed by participants by Friday.
Odebrecht representatives declined to comment. A spokesman
for the federal prosecutors' office in Curitiba said no deal had
been finalized and the prosecutor general's office in Brasilia
had no immediate comment on the reports.
The vast portfolio and deep political connections of the
Odebrecht group, which includes Latin America's biggest
construction company, have fed speculation that an eventual plea
deal could bring down a huge swath of Brazil's political elite.
In March, Marcelo Odebrecht, former chief executive officer
of his family's conglomerate, received a 19-year sentence for
his role in the corruption scheme. Soon afterward the company
said it would cooperate with investigators, who revealed an
entire office within the group dedicated to paying political
($1 = 3.24 reais)
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Additional reporting by Anthony
Boadle in Brasilia and Bruno Federowski in Sao Paulo; Editing by