Brazil engineering giant admits to $29 million in Peru bribes

Global Business

A bribery scandal brought thousands of protesters out into the streets of Lima.

Angry demonstrators clashed with tear-gas throwing police.

They marched against a new contract awarded to Brazil’s Odebrecht engineering company.

The scandal-plagued firm is at the center of a massive scandal across Latin America, linked to $29 million in bribes in Peru alone.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns has more.

Brazil engineering giant admits to $29 million in Peru bribes

Brazil engineering giant admits to $29 million in Peru bribes

A bribery scandal brought thousands of protesters out into the streets of Lima. Angry demonstrators clashed with tear-gas throwing police. They marched against a new contract awarded to Brazil's Odebrecht engineering company. The scandal-plagued firm is at the center of a massive scandal across Latin America, linked to $29 million in bribes in Peru alone. CGTN's Dan Collyns has more.
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For years, the Brazilian engineering giant Odebrecht had a huge presence in Peru.

In the infrastructure-starved Andean country, it was the firm which got the most ambitious projects, from the Inter-oceanic Highway connecting Peru’s Pacific coast to Brazil’s Atlantic Ocean to new metro lines in the capital Lima.

But with the boom times came the kickbacks, said prosecutors.

Peru’s Comptroller General estimates inflated public works contracts with Odebrecht cost the country nearly $300 million and that number will likely rise.

As this congressional committee begins to investigate the web of corruption, prosecutors have called for the last three presidents to testify.

Peru’s current leader Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who served as prime minister in one of those governments, could also be questioned. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Odebrecht may have been involved in dodgy deals in Peru during two decades, allege anti-corruption prosecutors. But even before the investigation, for many Peruvians, the name of the Brazilian construction firm was already synonymous with high-level corruption in the corridors of power.

Earlier this month, Peruvian authorities created a special team to investigate the millions of dollars in bribes.

But long before that investigative journalists like Gustavo Gorriti started looking into the web of graft across 10 countries in Latin America:

In Peru, this replica of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue was erected by former president Alan Garcia with a generous donation from Odebrecht.

The intention may have been to mark Peru’s relations with Brazil but as this investigation continues, it may come to be seen as visible symbol of corruption.