Antônio Palocci's role in Odebrecht case revealed by prosecutors

The former finance minister is alleged to have managed cash transfers

Published in 26/09/2016 - 16:23 By Yara Aquino and Michèlle Canes report from Agência Brasil - Brasília

 Antonio Palocci ministro erm 2005

Antonio Palocci Agencia Brasil/Arquivo

During a press conference on the 35th phase of Operation Car Wash, Federal Prosecutor Laura Gonçalves Tessler said former Finance Minister Antônio Palocci worked in an “intense and recurrent” for the interests of construction company Odebrecht in the federal government.

In the conference, held Monday (Sep. 26) and attended by the prosecutors, police reported that the negotiations involved the concession of fiscal benefits, an increase in Odebrecht's credit line with the Brazilian Social Development Bank (BNDES) in a country in Africa, as well as interference in a Petrobras deal on the acquisition of 21 drillships for pre-salt oil exploration.

Gonçalves reported that the construction company transferred some $39.5 million to a bank account supposedly controlled by the onetime cabinet member. The account is said to have aimed at favoring Odebrecht's use of illicit advantages. Palocci is believed to have worked intensely and recurrently in the defense of the interests of the firm. “These doings were made possible by backroom deals and exchange of favors for the benefit of the Workers' Party (PT). By all accounts, Palocci managed the account from 2006 to at least November 2013 as far as proof shows, with payments registered in this spreadsheet,” the prosecutor declared.

The amounts listed in the company's spreadsheet, brought to light in a previous phase of Operation Car Wash, had been registered under the name “Italiano,” police reported. Federal Police Commissioner Filipe Pace said there is “no shadow of a doubt” that “Italiano” in the spreadsheet of Marcelo Odebrecht, then CEO of the company, refers to Palocci.

Federal Judge Sergio Moro, in charge of the proceedings under Operation Car Wash, ruled the freezing of $39.5 million from Palocci's bank accounts. The same amount was also blocked in the accounts of Branislav Kontic, former adviser for the ex-minister, and onetime Cabinet Secretary Juscelino Dourado. All three faced temporary detention Monday (26) as part of the 35th stage of the police crackdown.

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira

Fonte: Antônio Palocci's role in Odebrecht case revealed by prosecutors

Edition: Denise Griesinger / Nira Foster

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