Belo Monte dragged into Lava Jato probe

Bnamericas Published: Friday, April 08, 2016
Belo Monte dragged into Lava Jato probe

A Brazilian construction consortium paid 150mn reais (US$41mn) in bribes to secure contracts for the Belo Monte hydroelectric project, prosecutors in the country's largest ever corruption probe have been told.

Former executives of engineering firm Andrade Gutierrez made the claim as part of a plea bargain in the Lava Jato investigation, according to a report in Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

The bribes corresponded to 1% of the overall value of contracts, the report said.

Camargo Corrêa, Odebrecht, OAS and Queiroz Galvão were also allegedly involved in the illicit payments.

The report said the cash was funneled to the ruling workers party and the democratic movement party (PMDB), which left the coalition government last week.

Latin America's largest power generation project, Belo Monte is being built in Brazil's northern state of Pará at a cost of more than 30bn reais. OAS and Queiroz Galvão form part of the Norte Energia consortium responsible for the project.

It is due be fully operational by January 2019 with installed capacity of 11.2GW.

Former Andrade Gutierrez president Otávio Marques de Azevedo has reportedly told prosecutors that bribes paid to state-run oil company Petrobras and developers of electric power projects were used to fund campaigns of President Dilma Rousseff and her political allies.

Prosecutors say the accusations are the first time operation Lava Jato has shown how political campaigns could have been financed using kickbacks from public works contracts.

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