Brazilian fraudster uses Malta banks to help launder $14 million

The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office has seized almost $8 million in illicit funds laundered through several international banks, including Malta, according to statement by the SFO on Friday.

Former Brazil state oil company Petrobras executive Mario Ildeu de Miranda laundered almost $14 million in funds received as a bribe from Brazil construction company Odebrecht through banks in Malta, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the Bahamas.

The SFO said that it was the “largest ever amount seized by the SFO from a single bank account”. In 2019, Miranda was convicted of 37 counts of money laundering and sentenced to six years in prison after receiving $25 million from Odebrecht.

The UK Fraud Office’s director described the laundering scheme as “a complex web of transactions across the world”, with the operation “exposing Mr Miranda’s attempt to conceal criminal proceeds and ensuring that the UK cannot be used as a hiding place for criminal assets.”

Miranda had spent more than $11 million of the original $25 million in payments to Petrobras employees, moving the remaining almost $14 million from bank to bank in an effort to hide their origin. Of those $14 million, almost $8 million made it to the London bank account which the SFO then froze in 2020.

On Friday, UK Judge Briony Clarke ruled that the funds originated from unlawful conduct, allowing the SFO to seize them.

Miranda’s original $25 million was received from Odebrecht, who from 2014 bribed state Petrobras officials and politicians, and carried out favours for politicians from impeached former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s Worker’s Party, in what was known as ‘Operation Car Wash’.

Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company, made Maltese headlines in 2011 after promising to move its Libyan operations and investments to Malta. Two Odebrecht subsidiaries are still listed as ‘active’ at the Malta Business Registry, with another struck off as defunct.

In 2008 and 2009, the subsidiaries, Odebrecht Construction Malta Limited and Odebrecht Engineering & Construction Limited registered sales of over €250 million, benefitting from up to 85% in tax refunds despite not carrying out any activity in Malta.

In 2020, the Brazilian construction company changed its name to Novonor in an attempt to dissociate itself from its murky reputation.


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6 days ago

So,which maltese bank were implicit in helping to launder these funds?

5 days ago
Reply to  Greed

And who were the auditors and its legal/judicial representatives?

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