UPDATE 3-Brazil prosecutors present charges against Odebrecht CEO

viernes 24 de julio de 2015 19:10 GYT

(Adds details on Braskem contract, damages sought, Andrade Gutierrez comment)

By Sergio Spagnuolo

CURITIBA, Brazil, July 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors, declaring war on what they called a culture of impunity, presented charges on Friday against the CEO of Latin America's largest engineering firm as part of a landmark investigation of a kickback and bribery scandal.

Marcelo Odebrecht, the third-generation chief executive of the family-run Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA, was charged with corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

"Today we take yet another important step in combating impunity," prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol said at a news conference. "We at the public ministry have a dream that all Brazilians are treated equal by the law."

Prosecutors said there was no way Marcelo Odebrecht could have been unaware that his firm participated in what they call a cartel of engineering firms overcharging state-run oil firm Petrobras and bribing executives and politicians, many of whom are in President Dilma Rousseff's coalition.

They are seeking 6.7 billion reais ($2 billion) in damages from Odebrecht, Dallagnol said, adding that Odebrecht SA laundered more than 1 billion reais between 2006 and 2014. The company reported 107.7 billion reais in revenues in 2014.

He said 870 million reais have been recovered so far in Brazil's largest-ever corruption investigation.

Top executives of Brazil's second-largest engineering firm, Andrade Gutierrez, including its CEO, were also among the 22 people charged. They will stand trial if the judge overseeing the case accepts the charges.   Continuación...