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U.S. judge approves Braskem $633 millon fine in record corruption case

Staff Writer |
A U.S. judge on Thursday sentenced the Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA to pay a $632.6 million criminal fine, in connection with a corruption case that led to the largest foreign bribery settlement in U.S. history.

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Braskem had agreed to the penalty when it pleaded guilty on December 21 to a conspiracy charge over a scheme that also involved Brazil's Odebrecht SA, Latin America's largest construction company.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Robert Capers in Brooklyn said.

Odebrecht and Braskem agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion to settle charges by U.S., Brazilian and Swiss regulators that they schemed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world.

These included alleged payments to Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras unearthed in a nearly three-year probe known as "Operation Car Wash" into political kickbacks in that country.

The Petrobras scandal also contributed to the ouster last August of Dilma Rousseff as Brazil's president. Petrobras and Odebrecht own Braskem.

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