Brazil: Grupo Petrópolis involved in corruption scandal

Grupo Petrópolis, Brazil’s third-largest brewing conglomerate, is accused of being involved in Brazilian’s largest corruption scandal. The privately owned brewery is said to have donated R$ 40 million (about $ 15 million) to the presidential campaign of the ticket Dilma Rousseff-Michel Temer in 2014.

A former executive of Odebrecht, Latin America’s major construction conglomerate, said on court that his firm used Itaipava brewery (Petrópolis) as an intermediary for the donation because it did not want to be listed as the biggest donor to politicians. The money was later reimbursed to Petrópolis by Odebrecht.

Marcelo Odebrecht, the former head of the company, which has built Brazilian World Cup stadiums, Cuba’s deep water port, Miami’s airport and is Angola’s biggest private employer, was sentenced last year to 19 years and four months in jail for crimes including corruption and money laundering. Two weeks ago, a U.S. judge approved a  $2.6 billion fine for the Odebrecht company in the corruption case, signing off on a plea deal between the company and U.S., Brazilian and Swiss authorities.

So far it is not clear how the accusations will affect Petrópolis and his owner Walter Faria, who bought Grupo Petropolis in 1998 and is included in Forbes’ list of the richest people in Brazil with a wealth of $3.4 billion.

Petrópolis operates six plants across the country (Boituva, Petrópolis, Teresópolis, Rondonópolis, Alagoinhas and Itapissuma) and holds a market share of 14.1%. After Heineken announced to take over Brazil Kirin (, 13.2.2017), the brewer assumes rank 3rd in the beer market in Brazil behind AB InBev’s subsidiary AmBev (, 67% market share) and Heineken Brasil (17.4% market share, 5 plants in Jacarei, Araraquara, Gravataí, Ponta Grossa  and Pacatuba). Petrópolis’ beer brand Itaipava is the country’s second-biggest brand behind Skol from AmBev.

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