Into the spotlight

The record US$3.5 billion settlement between Odebrecht, its affiliate Braskem and enforcement authorities across three continents is being hailed as a benchmark for future cross-border resolutions. Lawyers who worked on the case talk to Vincent Manancourt on and off the record about how it was done

Into the spotlight

In 2010, a prestigious Swiss business school named Brazil’s Odebrecht the world’s best family-run company. At the time, this was an uncontroversial decision: the construction conglomerate – Latin America’s largest – seemed the paragon of a modern, ethical and well-run business. As well as leading the charge in Brazil’s companies going global – giving it a portfolio that includes the US$200 million Miami Heat Stadium and Africa’s largest hydroelectric dams – Odebrecht had long been vital to Brazil’s economy, active in areas as diverse as infrastructure, agribusiness and military contracting. Furthermore, among its large workforce the company provoked a quasi-religious following – the product of a strong workplace culture where training and meritocracy were emphasised, and employees were expected to study books written by the company’s founder, Norberto Odebrecht.



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