The defense of Gerson de Mello Almada, vice-President of the engineering company Engevix, acknowledged today (Jan 22) that he paid amounts of money as part of the corruption scheme involving the
Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras.
In the response sent to the Federal Court of Paraná, where a lawsuit resulting from Operation Car Wash is underway, Almada’s lawyers claim he received threats from former Petrobras Supply Director Paulo Roberto Costa, so the defendant would take part in the bribery scheme.
They stated that Costa started to demand a percentage from every executive in the construction firms that signed a contracted with the oil giant. Almada’s defense went on to say that Paulo Roberto would threaten the executives “one by one”, availing himself of Petrobras’s economic power. The lawyers also highlighted that the former director promised to bring about losses in the fulfillment of the contracts and to bankrupt all those who questioned his power.
According to his defense, Gerson Almada was the victim of pragmatism in public relations and was unfortunate enough to become a member of a group whose “fault” was not to resist the pressure to pay the bribe money.
“The pragmatism in public relations reached such dimensions that support from the National Congress became dependent of the distribution of resources to congressmen. The high cost of electoral campaigning also led to the unrestrained collection of money to the coffers of political parties. No wonder Petrobras, once a profitable shareholding society, has been chosen for raising those funds,” the lawyers argue.
In its petition, the defense also urges the court to revoke the warrants for search and seizure, telephone tapping, and criminal probes.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira