Local September 25, 2014 | 7:38 am

Brazil, US target Dominican Republic US$92M plane deal: WSJ

Santo Domingo.- Brazil aviation giant Embraer sold eight Super Tucano attack-support aircraft to the Dominican Republic in a US$92 million deal, which is now the focus of bribery charges in Brazil and a probe in the U.S., wsj.com reports, quoting the Associated Press

It said Brazilian authorities have filed a criminal action against eight Embraer employees accusing them of bribing officials in the Dominican Republic in return for a US$92 million contract to provide the country’s armed forces with attack planes.

“The criminal complaint, filed under seal and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, marks one of the first known efforts by Brazil to prosecute its citizens for allegedly paying bribes abroad, a milestone achieved with help from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” wsj.com said.

It revealed that U.S. agencies are also investigating the company’s dealings in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere and have provided their Brazilian counterparts with evidence, according to a request last year for legal assistance from Brazilian prosecutors.

A spokesman for the Brazilian prosecutors’ office declined to comment on the case.

The complaint alleges that Embraer sales executives agreed to pay a US$3.5 million bribe to a retired Dominican Air Force colonel, who then leaned on legislators to approve the deal and a financing agreement between the Dominican Republic and the National Economic and Social Development Bank. The sale was completed and the aircraft were delivered.

The retired colonel, Carlos Piccini Nuñez, was serving as the Dominican Republic’s director of special projects for the armed forces in 2008, around the time of the contract negotiations. The contract provided the Dominican Republic with eight Embraer Super Tucanos, turboprop attack support aircraft that have been a darling of air forces in developing countries for their low maintenance and affordability.

“The Dominican Republic Air Force and the country’s defense ministry didn’t respond to requests to speak with Mr. Piccini, the outlet said.

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