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Odebrecht signs new leniency deal with Brazil authorities

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Odebrecht has been at the center of a global corruption investigation involving numerous other firms that paid billions of dollars in bribes to win contracts with state-owned oil company Petrobras and other state firms in the last two decades.

[BRASILIA] Industrial conglomerate Odebrecht SA has signed a leniency deal with Brazil's attorney general and comptroller general expanding on an agreement with federal prosecutors that set terms for its cooperation in a massive graft probe, authorities said on Monday.

Odebrecht has been at the center of a global corruption investigation involving numerous other firms that paid billions of dollars in bribes to win contracts with state-owned oil company Petrobras and other state firms in the last two decades.

The agreement announced Monday includes a fine against the company of 2.77 billion reais (S$971 million). That amount will be taken from the US$2.39 billion fine Odebrecht agreed with federal prosecutors to pay last year as part of an accord with US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities.

While the leniency agreement with prosecutors already shielded Odebrecht from prosecution, the deal announced on Monday gives the company added legal protections.

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Odebrecht has struggled to secure financing and land new contracts amid the probe. Comptroller general Wagner Rosario said the leniency deal would allow the company to more easily pursue public contracts.

"This agreement allows us to move toward a return to more sustainable growth," Odebrecht chief executive Luciano Guidolin said in a statement.

Petrobras announced last week that it was lifting restrictions on doing business with certain Odebrecht units, and the company said in May it is pursuing US$3.6 billion in new contracts.

REUTERS