News International review

Brazilian construction giant fined $ 50 million for corruption

Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which recently changed its name to Novonor, must pay a $ 50 million fine to Colombian authorities for corruption related to construction of a highway. The France 24 news agency reported, citing Agence France-Presse and Colombia industry and commerce regulatory agency.

The company was fined “for implementing a system to restrict free competition” related to a 520-kilometer stretch of the Ruta del Sol highway from the center to the north of Colombia.

In order to win the contract, Odebrecht and its local partners Corficolombiana and Episol paid a $ 6.5 million bribe to government official Gabriel Garcia.

The investigation was based on a plea deal between Odebrecht and the US Department of Justice in 2016 and testimony from Garcia, who is serving five years under house arrest.

In addition to $ 50 million fine, Odebrecht executives  Luiz Bueno, Luiz Mameri and Yesid Arocha will also pay a $ 900,000 fine for their involvement in the Colombian highway corruption scheme.

It is known that Odebrecht corruption scheme was deployed on a global scale and lasted more than ten years and resulted in the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in different countries.

Odebrecht’s corruption came to light following the investigation into Operation Car Wash in 2014 that resulted in dozens of top businessmen and politicians in Brazil and  other Latin American countries being sent to jail.

The investigation revealed that the large construction company bribed politicians in several countries to get large contracts for public works.

The case against Odebrecht was initiated in 2016 by the US Department of Justice in collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Brazil and Switzerland. Odebrecht admitted paying bribes worth about $ 778 million and agreed to pay a $ 3.5 billion fine.

Earlier this month Odebrecht changed its name to Novonor to try to distance itself from the corruption scandals.