The Odebrecht scandal brings hope of reform


by Anti-Corruption Digest

— Anti-Corruption News Story Curated by Anti-Corruption Digest International Risk & Compliance News

PERCHED on a sandy hill overlooking Lima's oceanfront is a 37-metre-high statue of Christ, a crude copy of the one that looks majestically down on Rio de Janeiro. It was unveiled in 2011 by Alan García, then Peru's president. Now Peruvians see it as a monument to corruption. It was built with a donation of $800,000 from Odebrecht, Brazil's biggest construction company, which has admitted that it paid $29m in bribes to secure contracts in Peru under the three governments that preceded the current one.

In the largest anti-corruption settlement in history, reached in December, Odebrecht revealed to authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland that over 15 years it had paid nearly $800m in bribes related to contracts for more than 100 construction and engineering projects in a dozen countries. In Brazil, Odebrecht was at the centre of a cartel that gouged Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company; its former boss, Marcelo Odebrecht, is serving a 19-year jail sentence. The settlement showed that in nine other Latin American countries the company paid a total of $388m in bribes to government officials and their associates.

Original article in The Economist, if you subscribe.