The Director of ONDCP, Lt Col Edward Croft, has stated that neither he nor any member of the command of his organization received any instructions from any official with regard to delaying or not providing documents requested by Brazilian investigative authorities regarding the activities of Odebrecht and a bank in Antigua.
The ONDCP Director’s statement follows an allegation that a high-level government official had been requested by an ‘intermediary’ to refrain from providing to international authorities various banking documents that would reveal illicit payments made by the Division of Structured Operations on behalf of a company called Odebrecht.
Because of the media attention that this matter has received and the information being pedaled, ONDCP, as one of the avenues through which banking documents are processed in response to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests, has decided that it is in the public interest to detail its involvement in relation to requests for information from the Brazilian authorities.
Lt. Col Edward Croft stated categorically, “I have not received any instructions from any private or public official whether domestically or internationally or from anyone advising that I not provide the necessary requested banking documents to the Brazilian authorities”.
He explained that ONDCP has both domestic and international responsibilities, regarding matters of money laundering and drug trafficking, that it takes very seriously. “In the execution of these responsibilities, ONDCP acts independently under the law and in keeping with its international obligations to the Financial Action Task Force and relevant international conventions”.
In July 2015 the ONDCP received from the Central Authority of Antigua and Barbuda, a request for Mutual Legal Assistance to provide help to Brazilian investigators in an investigation named Operation Carwash. This request was acted on immediately.
Because the information requested involved banking documents, an application for a production order was sent to the Court for approval on 22 July 2015. The production order was approved in September and the order was served on the bank to produce the requested documents. The documents were quite voluminous, resulting in boxes of them being provided over an extended period.
Nonetheless, all documents related to this request were transmitted to the Brazilian authorities once release by the Court had been obtained.
In November, 2015 another MLAT was received from the Central Authority for additional information. The same procedure was followed and the documents should be received from an offshore Bank during this week and will promptly be transmitted to Brazil. It is important to note that ONDCP has to await the production of the documents from the bank before they could be transmitted.
In July, 2016 another MLAT request was received requesting the freezing of several accounts and the provision of several bank documents. An application for the production of banking records and the freezing of several accounts were made to the Court. The Court has approved the freezing of the accounts. However, an ancillary matter related to this request is still before the Court and ONDCP has to await the Court’s decision.
ONDCP makes it clear that it has operated in this matter entirely in conformity with its status as an independent investigative body under the law, and fully in keeping with its domestic and international responsibilities. Further, ONDCP has received commendations from the Brazilian authorities for its assistance.
Colonel Croft emphasized that “The ONDCP and other agencies, such as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, have together successfully processed several dozen requests from many jurisdictions, including the US, the UK, Canada and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and have developed considerable expertise in fulfilling the obligations of MLAT requests for which they have been widely praised”.