Odebrecht pulls out of race for Panama Canal bridge

By Mike Hayes31 January 2017

Brazil’s Odebrecht is no longer taking part in the bidding process to construct a bridge over the Panama Canal.

The firm, which was recently fined US$2.6 billion by the US Justice Department, after being found guilty of bribery, has now been ordered to withdraw from the pre-bid qualification process, as part of its penalty – and amid further corruption claims.

It is alleged that Odebrecht paid more than US$59 million to Panama in bribes, between 2010 and 2014, in order to secure construction contracts.

The current government of Panama further claims the country’s former president, Ricardo Martinelli – along with two of his sons – was heavily involved in the alleged bribery.

The 1 km six-lane bridge will be the fourth to span the Panama Canal, and the project will include the construction of a roadway, connecting it with the Pan-American Highway. Overall, the project will have a length of 6.5 km, and a scheduled timeframe of around 42 months.

The estimated value of the bridge project is US$1 billion, and companies from China, Italy, South Korea and Spain have reportedly shown interest in bidding for the contract.

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