A scandal to rule them all: Odebrecht

A scandal to rule them all: Odebrecht

Prosecutors from 13 Latin American countries will discuss a mammoth corruption scandal on Friday that could rock the continent’s political

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Prosecutors from 13 Latin American countries will discuss a mammoth corruption scandal on Friday that could rock the continent’s political class.

Brazilian construction company Odebrecht is alleged to have paid some $800 million in political kickbacks over the past decade and a half, resulting in a record $3.5 billion fine from the US Justice Department. But while the US government will split this penalty with Brazil, other Latin American governments now want to be compensated too.

The details of the scandal haven’t been publicly released yet – when they are they’ll implicate high-profile politicians in neighbouring countries. Indeed, the scandal has already claimed the political career of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Just last week, Peruvian authorities issued an arrest warrant for former president Alejandro Toledo, who’s accused of receiving $20 million in exchange for contracting Odebrecht to build a giant transcontinental highway to Brazil. All up, the company is estimated to have secured contracts in Peru worth an estimated $25 billion and spanning at least three presidencies.

Allegations have also emerged that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos – who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his part in the FARC peace deal – received $1 million in illegal money from the company.

One thing’s for certain: this won’t be the last you’ll hear about the Odebrecht scandal.

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