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Brazil judge lifts order mandating Odebrecht payments to government

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A federal judge in Brazil on Friday suspended an order that required two units of construction firm Odebrecht to make monthly payments amounting to 3 percent of their monthly revenues to a government account, according to a court document.

Judge Friedmann Wendpap ruled that the two units of the Brazilian builder, at the center of the biggest-ever corruption scandal in Brazil, no longer needed to make the payments because of a leniency deal Odebrecht signed with Brazilian, U.S. and Swiss prosecutors in December.

The two units, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht and Odebrecht Plantas Industriais e Participações, had been obliged to make the payments in connection with the ongoing "Car Wash" investigation into political kickbacks centered around state-run oil company Petrobras.

The leniency deal Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] signed includes $2 billion in fines: the largest such penalty yet levied against any company. Since then, several nations where Odebrecht has admitted to paying bribes are also seeking to levy fines against the company.

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The judge said that Brazil's attorney general's office, which had asked the court to order the Odebrecht units' payments in November, had 30 days to appeal his order.

The attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Brad Brooks; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

 
 
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