By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The former president of the state-owned energy company Eletronuclear Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva was sentenced to 43 years in prison for bribery, money laundering, obstructing the Lava Jato (Carwash) investigations, tax evasion and participation in a criminal organization.
In addition to Silva twelve other persons were sentenced for their involvement in the embezzlement of public funds including Silva’s daughter. The former executive had been removed from his position in April of 2015 when allegations of his involvement in the scandal began to surface.
He was arrested in July of the same year after federal prosecutors working in the Lava Jato investigations accused him of receiving one percent, or over US$1.3 million, in bribes from construction companies Andrade Gutierrez and Engevix for contracts related to Angra 3. According to officials Silva asked for bribes at least 24 times from 2007 to 2014.
The project for the Angra 3 nuclear reactor was first drafted in the 1980s, but construction was officially started in 2010. Scheduled to be Brazil’s third nuclear reactor, Angra 3 is expected to generate more than twelve million megawatts/hour/year when it is fully operational.
Eletronuclear was founded in 1997 to construct and operate Brazil’s nuclear facilities. Its nuclear power plants generate three percent of Brazil’s energy today.
According to Agencia Estado, until March 2015 approximately US$1.3 billion of the US$4.2 billion allocated for the project had already been used, according to Eletronuclear.
Agencia Estado noted that Eletronuclear estimates losses of US$1.7 million per day if the reactor is not operational by the end of 2018.