Construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Tuesday as part of the ongoing investigation into corruption at state-owned Petrobras.

According to the BBC, a federal court sentenced Odebrecht to 19 years in prison on charges of money laundering, corruption and taking part in a criminal association.

Odebrecht, 47, paid more than $30 million in bribes to Petrobras officials in an effort to win contracts, the BBC added.

Odebrecht was arrested in June after allegations began to surface that his firm, Odebrecht SA, had participated in a bribery scheme tied to Petrobras contracts.

Lead prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Limas told Reuters at the time of the arrest that he had “no doubt” that Odebrecht and other executives were running a corruption “cartel.”

Odebrecht was formally charged in July, just days after Petrobras confirmed irregularities in a 2009 deal to provide petroleum products to Brazil-based Braskem, a joint venture between Odebrecht and Petrobras.

Former Petrobras downstream executive Paulo Roberto Costa and alleged black-market money man Alberto Youssef said in July that Braskem paid a bribe to secure below market prices for napthta.

Costa, who was convicted on corruption charges last year, added that the 2009 deal resulted in losses for Petrobras.

Braskem denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal has already landed several former Petrobras executives in jail and has made its way to the upper echelons of Brazilian politics.

Last week, former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was detained for questioning as police raided his home and offices in connection with the probe.

Brazilian prosecutors allege that Lula da Silva received gifts related to the kickback scheme at Petrobras, including luxury real estate and speaking fees paid by companies involved in the corruption scandal.


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