BRASÍLIA – Prosecutors from 15 countries will meet Thursday and Friday in Brasilia to discuss a massive bribery scandal at Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht which has spread across Latin America.
The meeting will be headed by Brazil’s prosecutor general, Rodrigo Janot.
"It will be a way of responding to the large number of requests for information on a case that remains sealed," a source close to the planning for the meeting said, asking not to be identified.
Odebrecht, one of the region’s biggest construction companies, was at the heart of a scheme to bribe Brazilian state oil company Petrobras in exchange for inflated contracts. Odebrecht also systematically bribed politicians, mostly in Brazil but also across a string of other countries, even running a department to keep track of the bribery.
Odebrecht admitted to paying US$788 million in bribes across 12 countries and agreed with the US Justice Department to pay a $3.5 billion fine, a world record in foreign corruption cases.
Seventy-seven executives from the company have signed plea bargains with Brazilian prosecutors and have detailed their roles in the scheme. The testimony remains sealed but is expected to send shockwaves through Brazilian politics when released.
Panama said Tuesday that Interpol has issued international wanted notices for two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli on allegations they accepted bribes from the construction giant.
And last week a Peruvian judge issued a domestic and international warrant for the arrest of ex-president Alejandro Toledo over accusations he took a $20 million bribe.
The countries attending the conference in Brazil are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela. – AFP