Ver Angola

Defense

Brazilian Odebrecht denies improper payments to companies linked to the President

The Brazilian construction company Odebrecht denied this Thursday having made improper payments to companies linked to the President, João Lourenço, as stated in a report by the consulting firm Pangea Risk, showing itself available to cooperate with justice "in the clarification of the facts.

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This week, a report by consulting firm Pangea Risk, cited by Expresso newspaper and to which Lusa also had access, said that Angolan leaders, including João Lourenço, are being investigated in the United States for alleged violations of the legislation on corrupt practices abroad (FCPA), illegal banking transactions, bank fraud to buy property in the US and an attempt to defraud the US Department of Justice.

Among the companies cited in the report is Odebrecht, which is alleged to have made a $20 million payment in 2017 to Orion, a communications agency in which the first lady, Ana Dias Lourenço, is a shareholder.

In a statement released this Thursday, the administration denies this payment, as well as any other improper payments to companies and individuals mentioned by Pangea Risk (formerly Exx Africa).

The consultancy alleges that part of this payment would have been used to finance the MPLA (ruling party) re-election campaign in the August 2017 legislative elections, which brought João Lourenço to power the following month. In this case, it points out, the payment would constitute a violation of anti-money laundering regulations and the Angolan Public Probity Law.

Odebrecht points out, for its part, that it signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice ('Department of Justice', 'DOJ') on 21 December 2016, relating to events prior to 2017, and its activities began to be monitored by independent auditors, appointed by the DOJ and the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor's Office, from February 2017.

In April 2017, the Brazilian press reported that the construction company had reached an agreement with US justice to pay $2.6 billion in fines to Brazilian, US and Swiss authorities due to bribery cases.

At the time, Odebrecht was also trying to negotiate settlements with other countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama and Portugal.

The Brazilian construction company's corruption scheme was discovered as part of Operation Lava Jato in Brazil, and also involved the payment of bribes to officials in Angola and Mozambique.

In August 2020, Expresso newspaper reported that Odebrecht had presented the Angolan government with a proposal in which it offered to pay compensation for any damage caused in several construction contracts signed in the country.

In the statement released this Thursday, Odebrecht reveals that the DOJ concluded, in November 2020, the independent external audit, after three years of systematic monitoring, certifying its compliance system for being able to prevent and detect possible violations of anti-corruption laws.

"This certification has positively concluded the internal and external transformation process initiated by Odebrecht as of December 2016," adds the document conveyed by the Brazilian company's management.

Odebrecht's management also states that it is "available to the authorities of all countries" in which it is present, "to cooperate with the justice system to clarify any facts that need to be clarified.

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