Petrobras headquarters in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
As Brazil arrests scores of its politicians in the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal, an offshore bank located in Antigua is being implicated in the multi-billion dollar scheme.
According to several online publications, the Brazilian construction giant, Odebrecht, acquired Meinl Bank Antigua Limited, exclusively to launder, distribute and conceal billions of dollars in bribes.
Vinicius Veiga Borin, a whistleblower from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, says he and other executives from Odebrecht collaborated to take control of Meinl Bank Antigua in late 2010.
Borin – a former employee of the now defunct Antigua Overseas Bank, says he and other former employees of AOB joined two central executives to acquire the subsidiary of Meinl Bank. Borin is one of a slew of Odebrecht executives brought in as part of ‘Operation Car Wash’ – the sprawling corruption investigation ongoing across Brazil.
He told Brazilian investigators that he was part of the construction company’s “Kick-back department”. Borin reported that 51 per cent of Meinl was originally bought through third parties for over US$3 million. Odebrecht slowly gained 67 percent control of the bank in Antigua.
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According to Borin, he discovered in one instance that US$16.6 million dollars was channelled through the bank to pay for the campaign of the president and former president of Brazil.
He says that Odebrecht executives linked to Meinl Bank used special software and code names to move funds and distribute bribes and moved around US $1.6 billion through over 40 accounts.
In Brazil, Odebrecht has been implicated as the principle actor in providing hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to executives of the state owned oil company Petrobras.
Petrobras sits at the center of the ongoing corruption scandal that has seen Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrested and its current president Dilma Rousseff suspended from office.
More than 50 major politicians are being investigated and scores of businessmen have been arrested.
(Source: Antigua Observer)