Santos to testify in Odebrecht corruption probe

Friday, April 21, 2017

Colombia's electoral watchdog (CNE) has called for President Juan Manuel Santos and seven other people to testify in the ongoing probe into alleged financing by disgraced Brazilian company Odebrecht during the last presidential campaign, local newspaper El Tiempo reported.

The 2014 campaign saw Santos reelected as president in a tight race that went to a run-off vote.

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The probe came after it became known that former senator Otto Bula, who will face trial for accepting bribes from Odebrecht, gave US$1mn to campaign manager Roberto Prieto, who aided Santos in his first presidential campaign in 2010 – and recently admitted that Odebrecht paid for campaign posters.

Santos is willing to cooperate with the investigation and is scheduled to give testimony on May 8, according to the report by El Tiempo.

US authorities charged Odebrecht with paying approximately US$788mn in bribes to officials in 12 countries, mostly in Latin America, to secure lucrative contracts, with some of the bribes going through US banks.

The charges stem from Brazil's Lava Jato corruption investigation, which started around three years ago, investigating contracts closed with state-run oil company Petrobras.