Why is South America so corrupt? $349 million are paid in bribes by Odebrecht in Brazil

Brazil has announced the development of anti-bribery enforcement actions. It is strongly connected with the prosecution of Odebrecht conglomerate founded in 1944, which consists of various businesses in such spheres as:

  • engineering
  • chemicals
  • construction
  • petrochemicals.

man in blue hat painting

According to the data from the US Department of Justice, the company has paid enormous sums of money in bribes:

  • in Brazil ($349 million),
  • in Venezuela ($98 million)
  • in the Dominican Republic ($92 million)
  • in Argentina ($35 million)
  • in Ecuador ($34 million)
  • in Peru ($29 million)
  • in Colombia ($11 million)
  • in Mexico ($10.5 million).

Odebrecht scandal had a very great influence on the country and society. Being connected with mostly cargo and break-bulk sectors, it went out far beyond them spreading to the biggest part of Latin America.

Nevertheless, the impact turned to be quite positive.

Brazil projects reinforcing the fight against corruption

The country has been fighting corruption for many years. The situation with Odebrecht has helped move forward in this activity. The investigations have become deeper and more widespread. Not just the conglomerate, but also plenty of the officials and members of the cabinet have appeared to be involved, including a current and 2 former presidents. The investigation has been called the largest Brazilian police action. It is connected with the fact that Brazil used to be a military dictatorship. The new generation of the country does everything to change the situation facing the methods of the “old-school” government.

According to the anti-corruption specialist, it is a new chapter in the global fight against bribery. The history of the country should not be understood wrong. The shift from the systematic corruption to its exposure and prosecution must be noticed. Today, Brazil might be referred to as one of the global leaders in prosecuting international bribery along with the UK and the USA.

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Several governmental reforms in 2011-2013 provoked the beginning of the fight. They were connected with the great number of anti-corruption protests and gave the young prosecutors the required tools and the legal rights to act. The efficiency of their actions was proved by the Odebrecht case.

Another project was created in 2013 under the title of Organized Crime Bill. It officially obstructed the way of justice, which made it a real crime.

The greatest step in the struggle against corruption is the international cooperation. In 2017, Brazil and Peru signed a corresponding agreement. It consisted of the information sharing and dialogue during the investigation.

Later, the other world countries joined the agreement to support Brazil. The meeting was organized by R. Janot (the Brazilian Prosecutor-General). During the gathering, eleven countries signed the Brasilia Declaration for International Judiciary Cooperation against Corruption:

  • Argentina
  • Panama
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Venezuela
  • Portugal
  • Brazil
  • the Dominican Republic
  • Mexico
  • Peru.

According to Kyle Sheahan, Jason Jones, and Amelia Medina, the regulatory regimes are not enough to successfully fight the corruption. The criminalization and prosecution of the bribery must be provided even in the distant regions. The good example of it is the America’s FCPA, which regulates the corruption activity abroad.