By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The twenty-sixth phase of the Lava Jato (Car wash) investigation started Tuesday morning with a focus on one of Brazil’s largest construction conglomerates, Odebrecht. Nearly 380 police officers are handing out 110 warrants in at least eight Brazilian states and the country’s capital, Brasilia.
According to federal investigators there is solid evidence that the conglomerate used financial operators linked to the black currency market to pay off third parties for advantages. According to officials, investigations show that cash payments were made by high ranking Odebrecht executives to public and private officials.
Odebrecht confirmed this morning that police officers had served warrants at company offices and at some of its employees residences across Brazil. “The company is rendering all its aid to the investigation underway, fully cooperating with the necessary clarifications,” said the press statement released by the company.
Former CEO of the company, Marcelo Odebrecht was arrested in June of 2015, during the fourteenth stage of the Lava Jato investigation, accused of bribing ex-directors of Brazil’s oil giant Petrobras for contracts. Odebrecht, along with two of his executives, were sentenced to more than nineteen years in jail at the beginning of the month for money laundering and taking part in a criminal organization related to the corruption scandal.
Local media has rumored that the former CEO was talking to federal prosecutors for a plea bargaining deal for lesser jail time. Former Petrobras directors such as Paulo Roberto Costa and black market money dealer, Alberto Yousseff have signed deals with Brazilian officials for a reduction of charges and have named several other participants in the corruption scheme, including politicians and businessmen.