The structure of the macro-corruption of “Lava Jato Peru”

The structure of the macro-corruption of “Lava Jato Peru”

On February 15th 2019, Brazilian company Odebrecht held an agreement with the Peruvian Public Ministry. In the document -according to what has been published through research-, the company confirmed its participation in a corruption scheme in four infrastructure projects and it compromised to provide relevant information in order to know the truth in these cases, including what members of the Peruvian State were bribed by them. From then on, the cases were at a different stage which allowed to strengthen the research hypotheses with new witnesses’ testimonies, and more important, with new evidence that led to the detention of the former authorities and officers from several Peruvian entities, including the detention of the former president Alan García, who ended his life before facing the justice. Certainly, this progress generated new information and it will continue doing so. However, this does not mean that the information was not available before, mainly under the power of the Brazilian justice. It has not been easy to find the information and systematize it.

In order to better understand the dynamics of the corruption of the Lava Jato (Car Wash) case in our country, during the last semester of 2018, we contacted Vórtex -a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of the social studies of the international criminal networks- for their invaluable experience. The organization had already made a similar exercise for the same case related to Brazil. The report shows the findings of the analysis made by Vórtex towards December 2018, when the study was finished. The responsibility of preventing more corruption cases such as Lava Jato from happening again lies within the citizens.

Lava Jato is the name under which we refer to the group of investigations, procedures, and large-scale corruption scandals recently discovered in Latin America. Lava Jato is characterized by the participation of Brazilian companies, mainly the construction company Odebrecht. Lava Jato was initially the name of the first legal procedure in Brazil against corruption, institutional co-opting and asset laundering of the semi-public oil company from Brazil, Petrobras. Thus, recent academic research has shown that only in Brazil, Lava Jato was the structure in which 906 nodes/stakeholders participated and 2693 interactions took place. This involved high-level public officers, political parties, political leaders, companies, and businessmen in Brazil.

Lava Jato did not work as a traditional random bribery scheme paid to the decision-making public officers; on the contrary, the scheme also included political parties and specific candidates, who received illegal financing during their campaigns so that -once reelected- they could act in favor of the corrupted companies. Furthermore, Lava Jato analysis has revealed a more complex institutional co-opting and corruption scheme than the traditional structure characterized by the undue interaction between private and public sector stakeholders, enclosing the political sector as the link between illicit public and private interests.

As the judicial procedures made progress in Brazil, it became familiar that the corruption scheme investigated was partially reproduced by the involved companies in several countries in Latin America. Thus -according the information provided by Brazilian businessmen in cooperation agreements with the justice of Brazil- from Mexico to Argentina, millionaire briberies were paid to high-level public officers and unusual donations were made for campaigns, so that they could have access to millionaire infrastructure agreements.

As a result of the research, in December 2016, the Department of Justice of the United States made public the agreement signed with the construction company Odebrecht. The agreement shows that the company acknowledged to have paid through “Cash Office 2”, briberies for almost 800 million dollars to public officers in twelve countries in America and Africa in order to award the public work construction contracts (Department of Justice, 2016).

Considering the above, this document analyzes the criminal structure called Lava Jato Perú, that is to say, the corruption structure that began in Brazil in the Odebrecht company, and it spread to Peru thanks to Peruvian businessmen who agreed to finance political parties and campaigns in exchange for being favored with infrastructure contracts.
For this analysis, a model of the illegal network was created by applying the protocols developed by Vortex Foundation, known as Criminal Network Analysis (ARC is the acronym in Spanish), in order to understand individual and group characteristics from natural and legal persons, as well as the way the interact. Similar previous analyses have been developed in order to identify, for example, the macrostructure of the Lava Jato network of institutional corruption and co-opting in Brazil.

As of the Social Media Analysis (ARS is the acronym in Spanish), the ARC begins with protocols applied to identify each interaction that links natural or legal persons -in their condition of social stakeholders with decision-making moral- and becoming distinct whether the role of each stakeholder is active or passive until it consolidates a database that contain every interaction identified. Thus, the network is the set of natural and legal persons, represented with nodes as well as their pertinent interactions, whose structure can be charted and analyzed. The concept node/stakeholder is applied here to refer to each entity that appears in the network.

In the following protocol, the network -that is to say, the set of nodes/stakeholders and interactions- is also calculated with indicators of centrality in order to understand the levels of relevance of the stakeholders (individuals and companies) involved in the structure and functioning of the network. More specifically, this analysis calculates and analyzes two indicators of centrality that match two indicators of relevance: first, the indicator of direct centrality, that provides information regarding the percentage share of the direct interactions that involve every node/stakeholder in relation to the total of direct interactions set by all the nodes/stakeholders of the network. On the other hand, the betweenness indicator -that provides information regarding the percentage share of the flow of resources such as information, money or political capital, among others- in which each node/stakeholder is involved in relation to the total of the flow in the network. Then, in the final protocol, the structure is graphed to visually show its characteristics, that is to say, the importance of the specific types of social interaction and relevance of specific nodes/stakeholders.

As it will be shown, the figures presented herein -that reveal the structure of Lava Jato Peru- represent chronological events that led to corruption acts in Peru between 2000 and 2015. Following the described protocols, the analyzed model is based in data that shows identified interactions of the Peruvian case, but including information from Lava Jato Brazil, and other acts that happened in Peru. Unlike the development of the judicial research in Brazil, in which there has been progress and already rendered judgment, in Peru, there is no official information. This is the main reason why it was necessary to build the structure that we are analyzing here through public sources from Brazil. This information has been complemented with reports -not necessarily official- published in Peru. The resulting model mainly focuses in the actions performed by the Brazilian companies: Odebrecht, Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, UTC Engenharia, Engevix, OAS y Queiroz Galvao. They joint in an almost monopolistic collusion known as the “Club”, all of them investigated in Brazil within the framework of the Lava Jato (Salcedo-Albaran, Garay, Macias, & Santos, 2018).

Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán
Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca
Guillermo Macías