International group to probe Odebrecht bribes

By Mike Hayes20 February 2017

A multilateral group of officials will jointly investigate the extent of corruption stemming from the Odebrecht bribery case.

Following a meeting on February 16, executives from the public prosecution offices of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela agreed to work together to fully investigate bribes alleged to have been paid to high-ranking officials across Latin America and beyond.

In a declaration made after the meeting, which took place in Brazil, the Mexican prosecutor emphasised “the importance of recovering the assets and comprehensive reparations for the damage caused by thos illicit acts, including the paying of fines, according to the laws of each country”.

Officials from Odebrecht and Petrobras, another of the firms at the heart of the corruption scandal, have been sentenced to prison terms for their roles in the case, while former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is one of the high-profile politicians also implicated.

As part of the ongoing investigation, an arrest warrant was recently issued for former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, who is now a fugitive from justice, and believed to be in the US.

Both Odebrecht and Petrobras have independently admitted their involvement in fraudulent schemes, stretching back more than a decade, in which bribes were paid to government officials to ensure the award of lucrative construction contracts around the world.

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