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Brazil oil company to pay $853M to settle corruption scandal

By Danielle Haynes
Brazil oil company to pay $853M to settle corruption scandal
About 80 percent of the settlement will go to Brazil, while the United States will receive the rest. File Photo by Marcelo Sayao/EPA-EFE

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, agreed Thursday to pay $853 million to the United States and Brazil to settle a corruption scandal that's plagued the South American country for four years and entangled at least two presidents.

The company, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, will pay $682.6 million to a fund supporting corporate transparency and compliance. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will split the other $170.6 million.

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The settlement stemmed from an investigation -- Operation Car Wash -- into money laundering by Brazil's federal police. The probe later expanded to include accusations of government corruption in which Petrobras executives allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for giving contracts to construction companies with inflated prices, notably Odebrecht SA.

BBC News reported that the scheme was run between 2004 and 2012 and involved $2 billion. Former President Dilma Rousseff was implicated in the scandal and protesters called of her resignation. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced to jail for his involvement.

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Petrobras said it, too, was a victim of the scandal.

"The agreements serve the best interests of Petrobras and its shareholders and put an end to the uncertainties, burdens and costs associated with potential litigation in the United States," the company said.

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