- Title: Stalled Brazilian Odebrecht projects decay in Venezuela
- Date: 31st May 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (FILE) (REUTERS) FORMER VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT, HUGO CHAVEZ, WALKING WITH FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT, LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA CHAVEZ AND LULA TOGETHER, CHAVEZ SPEAKING TO REPORTERS CHAVEZ AND LULA JOINING HANDS FOR PHOTOGRAPHS ALONG WITH FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT, NESTOR KIRCHNER LULA, KIRCHNER AND CHAVEZ WALKING INSIDE
- Embargoed: 14th June 2017 22:34
- Keywords: Venezuela Brazil Odebrecht corruption Nicolas Maduro Hugo Chavez Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
- Location: CARACAS; CAICARA DEL ORINOCO, BOLIVAR; LOS TEQUES, MIRANDA; GUARENAS, GUATIRE, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS; CAICARA DEL ORINOCO, BOLIVAR; LOS TEQUES, MIRANDA; GUARENAS, GUATIRE, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0046J66PFN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Odebrecht has left at least 23 multi-million dollar projects unfinished or stalled in Venezuela, according to company and government documents, interviews with over two dozens workers, and site visits.
Late last year, Latin America's largest engineering company admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars of bribes in 12 mostly Latin American countries in exchange for contracts. The unfolding scandal has already led to the downfall of high-ranking officials across the region.
On Thursday (June 1), Brazil's attorney general will share information from plea bargain deals by dozens of Odebrecht executives with relevant countries.
According to a leniency agreement with U.S. authorities, which was made public in December, Odebrecht and its representatives paid some $98 million dollars in bribes to officials and intermediaries in Venezuela between 2006 and 2015 - the highest amount outside Brazil.
Yet many of the company's projects in Venezuela ground to a halt even before the Odebrecht scandal exploded, likely due to lack of payment from the cash-strapped socialist government, sources said.
Odebrecht's stalled projects include the Caicara project, one other huge bridge, subway lines, a train to link dormitory towns with Caracas, hillside cable cars, an agricultural project, an overhaul of the country's main airport, and a hydroelectric dam.
Caracas-based lawyer, Wilmer Nolasco, said the works had been paralysed due to a lack of state finances, whilst director of the International Transparency NGO, Mercedes de Freitas, considers that contracts had merely been drawn up for public officials and for Odebrecht to reap hefty bribes.
Odebrecht representatives in Venezuela and Brazil did not respond to requests for comment, neither did Venezuela's public works and communications ministries.
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