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Press Release

Former Chief Executive Officer of Petrochemical Company Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Foreign Bribery Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Brazilian man who previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Braskem S.A. (Braskem), a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of New York to 20 months in prison for a scheme to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret slush fund and to pay bribes to government officials, political parties, and others in Brazil.

Jose Carlos Grubisich, 64, of Brazil, pleaded guilty on April 15 to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one count of conspiracy to violate the books and records provision of the FCPA and to fail to accurately certify Braskem’s financial reports. According to court documents, between approximately 2002 and 2014, Grubisich, who served as the CEO and a member of the board of directors of Braskem — as well as in various capacities for Braskem’s parent company, Odebrecht S.A. (Odebrecht) — engaged in a scheme to bribe Brazilian government officials. As part of the scheme, Grubisich and his co-conspirators diverted approximately $250 million from Braskem into a secret slush fund, which Grubisich and others generated through fraudulent contracts and offshore shell companies secretly controlled by Braskem. In addition to his prison sentence, Grubisich was ordered to forfeit $2.2 million and pay a $1 million fine.

In December 2016, Braskem and Odebrecht each pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. Braskem also resolved related civil proceedings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the same day.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis for the Eastern District of New York, and Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI’s International Corruption squad in New York investigated the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance. The department also expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Ministério Público Federal and the Departamento de Polícia Federal in Brazil, the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Office of Justice in Switzerland, and the governments of Portugal, Andorra, the United Kingdom, and Panama.

Acting Co-Principal Deputy Chief Lorinda Laryea and Trial Attorney Leila Babaeva of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Nestor and Alixandra Smith of the Eastern District of New York prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Mantell of the Asset Recovery Section of the Office’s Criminal Division is handling related forfeiture matters.

Updated October 12, 2021

Foreign Corruption
Press Release Number: 21-986