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Petrochemicals

Former Braskem CEO indicted in US corruption probe

by Alexander H. Tullo
November 30, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 47

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Credit: NPRA
Jose Carlos Grubisich in 2007

Former Braskem CEO Jose Carlos Grubisich has been arrested in New York City and indicted on bribery and money laundering charges in Brooklyn federal court. The charges are related to Brazil’s Operation Car Wash corruption investigation, which ensnared many Brazilian government officials and executives, including ones at Braskem and its parent company, the conglomerate Odebrecht. Grubisich led Braskem in its infancy, from 2002 to 2008, and used it as a vehicle for consolidating Brazil’s petrochemical sector, which had been a hodgepodge of government and privately owned enterprises. According to the indictment, Grubisich presided over a scheme to funnel $250 million from Braskem into offshore shell companies that existed solely to dole out bribes to Brazilian officials. He is also accused of authorizing bribes paid out after he left Braskem to run Odebrecht’s ethanol business. Notably, two officials received $12 million in bribes to help create a naphtha feedstock contract with Petrobras that was favorable to Braskem.

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