December 3, 2021

Panamanian Intermediary Pleads Guilty in Money Laundering Conspiracy

A Panamanian man pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to a money laundering conspiracy in connection with a bribery scheme involving a Brazil-based global construction conglomerate.

According to a DOJ press release, the individual admitted to establishing "offshore bank accounts in the names of shell companies to receive and disguise over $28 million in bribe proceeds from [Brazil-based construction company] Odebrecht for the benefit of his close relative, a high-ranking public official in Panama. Further, the individual admitted to "cause the wiring of the Odebrecht bribe funds into and out of the United States, and used some of the proceeds of the scheme to purchase a yacht and a condominium in the United States." Odebrecht S.A. previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (see previous coverage) in 2016. The individual, along with several co-conspirators, was arrested on July 6, 2020, in Guatemala and charged in a five-count indictment on February 4, 2021.

The individual pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and admitted to establishing offshore bank accounts under shell companies to launder over $28 million in bribe proceeds. As part of the plea, the individual agreed to forfeiture of approximately $18.9 million and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2022.