Former OAS president signs plea bargain deal

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The former president of embattled Brazilian infrastructure company OAS, José Adelmário Pinheiro, better known as Léo Pinheiro, signed a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.

OAS, which is in bankruptcy protection, is one of several construction companies involved in the Lava Jato corruption scandal.

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Under the deal, Pinheiro, who was arrested in 2017 and was sentenced for corruption and money laundering, will collaborate with authorities in ongoing investigations, a prosecutor's office spokesperson told BNamericas.

Pinheiro was a close friend of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is serving a 12-year jail sentence for "passive corruption" and money laundering.

Lula was sentenced in 2017 in relation to 3.7mn reais (currently US$980,000) in illegal benefits he is said to have received from OAS. The firm reportedly spent that amount refurbishing a beachfront apartment for Lula in return for contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras.

The former president (2003-11) began serving the sentence last April after a series of appeals were rejected.

OAS carried out work in sectors such as transportation, oil, energy and sanitation and was one of Latin America's largest construction groups before the Lava Jato scandal. Currently, most of its operations are paralyzed.