Pemex probes Odebrecht bribery allegations

Friday, February 17, 2017

Pemex pledged to investigate an accusation that Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht paid US$10.5mn in bribes to the Mexican government, including US$6mn to an official of a state-owned company, the NOC said in a statement.

Odebrecht pleaded guilty in December to charges brought by the US Department of Justice concerning accusations of bribery in various jurisdictions and agreed to pay up to a US$4.5bn fine.

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As a result of the allegations regarding what a US court document describes as a bribe to "a high-level official of a Mexican state-owned and state-controlled company," Pemex said its responsibilities unit opened an investigation to determine whether bribes were paid to any of its officers, and to apply sanctions where necessary.

The company is carrying out a study of all the contracts signed between Pemex and Odebrecht and its subsidiaries, and is collaborating with the attorney general's office, it said.

Pemex added it will continue to inform on the progress of the case.

The Brazilian group and its petrochemical subsidiary Braskem paid about US$788mn in bribes to secure around 100 projects in a dozen countries over the last decade and a half, reaping US$12bn in benefits, according to US law enforcement officials.

Odebrecht's bribery trail was uncovered in countries including Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Panama, Mexico and Venezuela. In December, Panama banned Odebrecht from participating in any future public tenders.

Panama's comptroller general said this week it would carry out a probe into seven infrastructure projects built by the company in Panama City amid allegations Odebrecht paid more bribes than it has admitted to.