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The Little Constructive Work of Brazilian Construction Companies in Venezuela

The iceberg begins to emerge. Odebrecht admits to American authorities that it distributed bribes in twelve international markets, including Venezuela, where most bribes were paid: 98 million US dollars in bribes and kickbacks. At least 35 million of all that money was contributed by the civil engineering company to the last electoral campaign of Hugo Chávez. In court declarations, an informer speaks of under-the-table payments of at least US$ 600,000 in the name of company Andrade Gutierrez. This is just the beginning of the revelations.

12/23/2016 3:01:31 PM

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Only in Venezuela, US$ 98 million was paid in bribes. Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant, not only admitted having bought officials in its country —what had been revealing in the investigations of prosecutors and judges, but that outside Brazil, the Bolivarian Republic was the place where it paid the most bribes to get the best contracts.

Two years ago, the Lava Jato Operation ("Carwash" in Portuguese) has shaken the foundations of the Brazilian establishment. In July 2013, the Federal Police of Brazil tracked the suspicious movements of a man called Alberto Youssef, and by pulling that thread, not only did it find one of the commission agents - the infamous doleiros [black market dollar dealers] - but a cartel of businessmen and political leaders who managed the monopoly of state contracts. But it was not until last Wednesday that some of Odebrecht's management abroad came to light not exactly from Brasilia, but in New York.

Construction company Odebrecht and its petrochemical arm, Braskem, pleaded guilty before the court of the Eastern District of New York for paying bribes of US$ 349 million in Brazil and another 439 million in a circuit of 11 countries, including Africa with Angola and Mozambique, and Latin America with Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and, of course, Venezuela, where they spent nearly a quarter of the total spent abroad.