Venezuela Prosecutors Raid Odebrecht Offices in Bribe Probe
Venezuelan authorities raided the Caracas offices of Odebrecht on Tuesday, as prosecutors deepened a probe into the Brazilian construction firm that has admitted paying some $98 million in bribes to obtain government contracts in Venezuela.
“The investigation is aimed at clarifying the situation and determining if the projects for which this company was contracted were completed,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Odebrecht and affiliated petrochemical company Braskem in December pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to violating American foreign bribery laws by paying off officials to help secure lucrative construction contracts in 12 countries.
According to the plea bargain agreement, Odebrecht and representatives paid some $98 million in bribes to government officials and intermediaries in Venezuela between 2006 and 2015 – the highest amount outside Brazil.
President Nicolas Maduro has said that those responsible should be punished, but his critics say his government has been slow to respond to the scandal.
The country’s top prosecutor said in January that authorities were seeking the arrest of a person involved in the case, without disclosing the person’s identity.