On December 10, 2020, Jorge Luz, a Brazilian businessman, and his son, Bruno Luz, each pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for their participation in a bribery scheme. According to the criminal informations, the two paid more than $5 million in bribes to Petrobras officials and Brazilian politicians on behalf of Florida-based asphalt company Sargeant Marine Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “SMI”).
As stated in the criminal informations, between 2010 and 2015, the defendants paid bribes to a member of the Brazilian Congress, a minister in the Brazilian government, and two Petrobras officials. In order to disguise the payments, the defendants created shell companies that entered into fake consulting agreements with SMI. These shell companies billed SMI for millions of dollars in commissions for phony services. Bruno and Jorge Luz kept some of the commission payments for themselves and distributed the rest to Brazilian government officials. The two defendants are currently awaiting sentencing.
These guilty pleas follow Sargeant Marine Inc.’s guilty plea on September 22, 2020 for conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. As part of its plea, Sargeant Marine Inc. agreed to pay a criminal fine of $16.6 million.