From The Panama Papers To Odebrecht: Illicit Financial Flows From Brazil

  • Ben Marques


Brazil has garnered the world´s attention recently with a backdrop of political scandals, corruption allegations, world-renown sporting competitions and an economy in turmoil. It has been nothing less than a roller coaster for the citizens of Brazil who have savored some of the ups and downs of the last ten years.In 2007 Brazil was the darling of the developing world. It appeared that the nation that is paradoxically called the “nation of tomorrow” had finally arrived at its tomorrow. With the commodity boom stocking its coffers, millions of Brazilians out of poverty due to the policies of President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil could go through the recession relatively unscathed until the commodity market collapsed and Brazil suffered its own recession in 2015 along with series of political calamities. Aside from the impeachment of President Rousseff and Operação Lava Jato (the so-called Car Wash scandal that has implicated several politicians due to bribery through kickbacks they received through the oil giant Petrobras) that was in full swing there was another socio-political phenomenon that was not receiving the press coverage that it was deserving. The Brazilian government was and still is in a struggle to emphasize accountability in the realm of money laundering and illicit finance flows; this endeavor has proved cumbersome as off shore tax havens have and continue to provide a refuge for the funds of fraudulent companies such as Odebrecht and unethical individuals. The abuse of offshore tax havens by the Brazilian political elite, by the “outing” of the Panama Papers as well as the use of OFCs (Offshore Financial Centers) by Odebrecht has forced the Brazilian government to take action and stem the flow of illicit finance.The expanded version of this paper was written at the George Washington University, International Transcriminal Organizations.