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The Brazilian company Odebrecht found fertile soil for corruption in DR

The Brazilian company Odebrecht, now involved in one of the greatest corruption scandals to hit the American continent, found in the Dominican Republic a perfect place for managing its many projects, according to a report in Diario Libre. The company even transferred its office charged with bribes and “other facilities” to political figures to Santo Domingo, where local officials may have benefited to the tune of nearly $100 million.

However, as reporters from the Diario Libre write, five months after the scandal became public, no one in this country has been prosecuted or even identified as recipient of the millions of dollars supposedly paid by Brazilian company.

This cloud hanging over the government’s handling of the bribery accusations has given rise to a number of civic movements such as the “Green Movement, with its Green Book and Green Marches that call for an end to impunity on behalf of the Dominican government.

Many of these critics hope that at least the silence will end on Friday, 19 May 2017, when the Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez had said the company would deliver the names of the individuals who may have received bribes.  This disclosure is part of a plea deal in which the government has agreed not to prosecute company executives and will allow them to continue doing business or operating in the country.

According to documents released by the United States Department of Justice, Odebrecht executives confessed that they had paid US $788 million to officials in 10 Latin American countries and two African nations in order to obtain lucrative contracts from their respective governments. In the Dominican Republic, starting in 2001, Odebrecht paid out US$92 million in bribes in order to obtain some 17 construction contracts for highways, dams and an electricity generating facility.

One of the principles implicated in the bribery scheme, Joao Santana, worked as an advisor to President Danilo Medina in his two election campaigns.

The current Attorney General of the Republic, Jean Alain Rodriguez, who is a member of the Central Committee of the PLD, signed in January an immunity agreement with Odebrecht executives that will allow the company to continue operations and its executives to remain free of prosecution in exchange for information that may implicate local officials who may have been involved in the scandal.  The agreement also includes the payment of a US $184 million fine (to be paid over eight years) for having provided money for the bribes. This is the first agreement of this type that the company has managed to obtain outside of Brazil. Civic groups such as the Green March, call this deal “an immunity agreement.”

Source: DR1, DiarioLibre

May 19, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated August 23, 2017 at 12:28 AM
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