Former Braskem CEO Sentenced to 20 months in prison for Bribery Charges in U.S.

Former Braskem CEO Sentenced to 20 months in prison for Bribery Charges in U.S.

By Mengqi SunOct. 12, 2021 7:00 pm WSJ

The former chief executive officer of Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in a scheme that diverted $250 million from the company to a slush fund to pay Brazilian government officials, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Tuesday’s sentencing of Jose Carlos Grubisich, a 64-year-old Brazilian citizen, at the federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., comes after his guilty plea in April. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the antibribery provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of conspiring to violate the books and records provision of the FCPA and failing to accurately certify Braskem’s financial reports as a corporate officer, the Justice Department said. 

Mr. Grubisich was also ordered to forfeit $2.2 million and pay a $1 million fine, the Justice Department said.

“Jose Carlos is an extraordinary man who was placed in an impossible situation during his time at Braskem, and the court’s sentence today reflects that,” his lawyers, Edward Kim and Paul Shechtman, said in an email. “Jose Carlos has consistently dedicated himself to helping those around him, and he looks forward to continuing that good work in the years ahead.”

Prosecutors alleged that between 2002 and 2014, Mr. Grubisich, acting as the CEO and a board member of Braskem, was involved in a scheme that diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret fund to pay bribes to government officials and political parties in Brazil.

In a court statement in April, Mr. Grubisich admitted to knowing about and agreeing to pay bribes to an unnamed official at Brazil’s state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA, also known as Petrobras, following a 2005 contract with Braskem to operate a polypropylene plant.

The FCPA prohibits companies with ties to the U.S. from paying bribes to foreign officials to gain a business advantage.

In 2016, Braskem and its parent company, Odebrecht SA, agreed to pay a combined penalty of at least $3.5 billion to authorities in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland to resolve charges related to the bribery scheme.

In the U.S., both companies pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the antibribery provision of the FCPA.

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Harvey Yan

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