Odebrecht bribery probe widens

Mexico’s state oil firm Pemex, a major offshore player, has announced it is conducting an internal investigation to find out if some of its officials were bribed by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

This will include a thorough examination of all contracts signed between Pemex and Odebrecht, including their subsidiaries.

Odebrecht is prominently involved in the Petrobras scandal, which has seen dozens of executives and politicians charged with corruption in a huge bribes-for-inflated-contracts scheme involving Brazil’s state oil giant. That affair is conservatively estimated to have cost Petrobras $2bn.

And beyond that, Odebrecht is accused of perpetrating a web of graft schemes in countries throughout Latin America and beyond.

Pemex has been prompted to action by the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) accusation that Odebrecht bribed Mexican public officials to the tune of $10.5m including one $6m payment to an unnamed Pemex official.

In December Odebrecht pleaded guilty to DOJ charges of bribery in various jurisdictions and agreed to pay a $4.5bn fine.

And in a related move, 11 countries have agreed to team up on a joint investigation of the Odebrecht bribery web.

Justice officials from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela made the announcement on Friday in Mexico City.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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