Brazil’s judge suspends Odebrecht lawsuit in sign of plea deal

Thu Jun 2, 2016 

Brazilian judge Sergio Moro has suspended one of the lawsuits against executives of engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA for 30 days, newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Thursday, signaling potential plea bargain deals with prosecutors investigating a massive graft scheme.

A spokeswoman for Moro’s office did not immediately respond to request for comments.

In deciding to suspend the process, “there would be talks for some sort of collaboration,” Folha quoted Mora as saying. Testimony in plea bargains are confidential until they are fully collected by prosecutors and approved by a judge.

Odebrecht said in March its executives would seek plea bargains with prosecutors, a radical shift for the company, which had done little to cooperate in the graft probe that has targeted major political parties and contractors of state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Odebrecht is the largest of Brazil’s major engineering firms accused of colluding to overcharge Petrobras for work and using the excess as bribes that were funneled to ruling coalition politicians and, in some cases, Rousseff’s opponents.

Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht, the company’s former chief executive officer and scion of the family that controls the firm, was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being convicted of corruption and money laundering. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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