Brazil, within the extraordinary legal security that the STF guarantees today to those accused of corruption crimes, and even to those already convicted, it is offering the world an invention never attempted to date in the science of Law: payment to corruptors for services provided to society. The minister Toffoli Days is becoming a global authority on the subject. It has just suspended payment of the fine of R$3.8 billion that the construction company Odebrecht has with the National Treasury, as stipulated in the agreement it signed with the Public Ministry when admitting the practice of corruption in 49 contracts with the government in the first era Lula-Dilma. In exchange for this, the company’s directors were spared from going to prison. Toffoli has now decided that they don’t need to do either of those things: neither go to jail nor pay the R$3.8 billion.
As the money was no longer from Odebrecht, but from the Treasury, the minister’s decision is valid as a payment to the company: the accused confessed to corruption, were not arrested because they signed the agreement, and now everything is set to zero. Toffoli’s argument, in accordance with the jurisprudence he himself created, is a challenge to common logic. There is “reasonable doubt”, according to him, about Odebrecht’s “voluntariness” in signing the agreement it signed – that is, it is not clear whether it really wanted to exchange the prison for the R$3.8 billion. The only possible conclusion, then, is that the directors preferred to go to jail, but were forced to accept the fine. It has always been universally understood that no one ever willingly pays a penny of any type of fine. But we also don’t know of anyone who, having money in their pocket, preferred to be arrested to avoid paying.
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Toffoli repeated with Odebrecht exactly what he had done with another confessed corruptor – J&F, owner of the largest meatpacking company in Brazil, whose directors also signed a leniency agreement so as not to be arrested for the crime of active corruption. The difference is that the forgiveness for J&F was much more expensive for the population – the payment, then, was more than R$10 billion. Before that, the minister had declared null the material evidence of corruption against Odebrecht, such as confession of crimes and return of stolen money. The evidence was destroyed, but the money was preserved – which is now returned to the company. In fact, the whole thing is becoming fashionable. There is already a Swiss company, which signed a similar agreement in a bribery case at the Casa da Moeda, and wants the return of the 270 million reais fine it paid – out of the total of 750 million reais it has to pay. Brazil is back, as you can see.