Brazil's Odebrecht rebrands as Novonor to turn page on graft-stained history

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian engineering group Odebrecht, whose name became synonymous with graft due to its role in the nation’s sweeping Car Wash corruption investigation, is changing its name as it tries to turn the page on that scandal-plagued history.

In a statement on Friday, Odebrecht said it was changing its name to Novonor, adding that the change was the “culmination” of a five-year transformation at the company, during which the firm changed its “internal processes and ways of acting, strictly guided by ethics, integrity and transparency.”

In 2016, the company pleaded guilty in the United States to graft-related charges, doling out some $2.6 billion to U.S., Swiss and Brazilian authorities in the largest-ever foreign bribery penalty in the United States at the time.

Odebrecht admitted to bribing officials throughout Latin America for years, contributing to dramatic political upheaval in Brazil and across the region.

In July, a Sao Paulo state court approved a bankruptcy recovery plan for the company, which was weighed down by over 65 billion reais ($12.8 billion) of debt. (Reporting by Peter Frontini and Gram Slattery; editing by Jonathan Oatis)