The U.S. Department of Justice released documents at the end of last year revealing Odebrecht’s international bribery scheme. The Brazilian contractor paid at least $788 million to 12 countries in Latin America and Africa. At least 5 Latin American countries are opening their own investigations into the Odebrecht scandal. Odebrecht has so far signed international plea deals with the U.S. and Switzerland.
Of the countries launching their own investigations, the Dominican Republic received the most in bribes at $92 million. Odebrecht distributed bribes in the Caribbean island between 2001 and 2014. The DR’s Attorney General has since requested documents on the contracts made with Odebrecht in this period, which a specialized team will analyze.
Panama’s Federal Prosecutor also announced it would collaborate with Brazilian and American authorities in investigating $59 million in bribes. Odebrecht made the bribes between 2010 and 2014, during the mandate of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli. Panama’s current president Juan Carlos Varela has prohibited Odebrecht from signing any new contracts in the country. Prior to the investigation, Varela’s administration had already signed at least $2.5 billion in contracts with the Brazilian contractor.
Other countries putting together special investigation workforces include Equador (having received bribes of $33.5 million), Peru ($29 million), and Argentina ($35 million). As of yet, these governments have not named the exact recipients of Odebrecht’s bribes, although political strain has still been put on the ex-heads-of-state in question. These Latin American investigation committees will collaborate with Brazil’s anti-corruption Operation Car Wash and American authorities.
Mozambique, which received $900,000 in bribes under the mandate of ex-president Armando Guebuza, hasn’t yet made any public statement on the matter.