By now, you’ve heard about Odebrecht’s amazingly sophisticated bribing operation in multiple countries, which included $98 million in bribes to Venezuelan government officials. Unfortunately, the Plea Bargain announcement didn’t specify who was on the receiving end of that gravy train.

But thanks to some investigative work by Joseph Poliszuk and Ewald Scharfenberg from the news site Armando.Info, along with Peruvian website and Panamanian newspaper La Prensa, now we have more of an idea:

Read it while it’s hot:

[In a Brazilian Federal court in Curitiba] you can find, on record, the testimonies of campaign adviser Joao Santana and his wife Monica Moura, who helped with Chavez’s re-election campaign in 2012…

“The cost of that campaign was approximately 35 million dollars,” said Moura in her court testimony dated February 24th of this year. The money came into the global financial system from accounts established in the Heritage Bank of Antigua & Barbuda belonging to offshore companies like Klienfeld Services and Shellbill Finance SA, corporate front used by odebrecht in its bribe circuit.

…Santana was one of the advisers that helped brand Nicolas Maduro as “the son of Chávez”. Now it’s become known that his advice work included (at least in 2012) funds that came from Odebrecht’s “Division of Structured Operations”, which helped the company win in Venezuela 32 the right to do 32 of the most emblematic public works…

“Those were unaccounted payments to the Chavez campaign, under the direct responsibility of Fernando Migliaccio, an Odebrecht executive in Brazil”, said Moura, who administered her husband’s campaign works.

The article doesn’t really specify how much of the $35 million campaign contract Odebrecht picked up. It seems like the company helped channeling the funds to pay Joao Santana’s role in the campaign. Details remain a little sketchy. 

Sketchier still is Santana’s role in shaping Chavez’s campaign. Matter of fact, it was the subject of my second ever post here at Caracas Chronicles. And Odebrecht had a huge stake in Venezuela at the time. But let’s not forget: the Bolivarian Republic used all resources at its disposal to ensure Chavez won that election. Don’t believe me? Ask Jorge Giordani.

Of course, this should lead Venezuela to launch an impartial investigat… ah, screw it, you and I both know it won’t happen.


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  1. Indeed!! This was rather well known in Venezuela – at least in certain circles. I asked Brazilians and they told me a rather elaborate story of who and how the aid was taking place at the behest of Lula, using Workers Party organizers, and his people running the TV ad campaign, etc.

    It seems Lula, like the Cubans, where upset at Chavez over his lack of organizing capacity after so much of his rank and file were not turning out to vote for him. He didn’t even organize his PSUV until 2007, and that only when things were going badly for him electorally.

    One might also note who/where Chavez’ family was said to be hidden (given refuge) during the anti-Chavez coup events. My understanding is that they were at Oderbrecht’s place.

  2. Thanks for reporting this terrible case, Gustavo. I see is right now down.
    Chavistas at play or just the server?

    Tom, thanks also to you for those details.

  3. Read somewhere…that Bndes , the official export financing bank of Brazil was requiring the financing of 4 mayor projects of Odebrecht in Venezuela to be revised , as they were connected with the results of the investigation of Odebrechts corrupt foreign activities …any one know which projects these might be ……in fact are there any ongoing Odebrecht projects left in the country or are they all shut down….??

  4. Why would Chavez need to tap Odebrecht for campaign funds when he had PDVSA and the Chinese Fund to use at his discretion? I am not saying that Odebrecht bribe money may not have also gone into the general campaign slush fund, but Chavez was not reliant on them.

    • For some time now Chinese financing (even if called something else) has been earmarked by the Chinese for use in specific projects they have some interest in …….dont know if this restriction was in place at the time of Chavez last election ……but generally they grew wary of the money being used arbitrarily while important projects already in execution where being left unfunded….!!

    • The Castros, Zelaya, Morales, Correa, Lugo, ….

      I agree. These are all fellow travelers, cooperating and coordinating efforts together because they all lent each other international legitimacy and collectively blunted the efforts of international institutions to expose their corruption and abuses of power.


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