Peru has now found itself wrapped up in Brazil’s Odebrecht construction scandal, following bribery claims on its Interoceánica Sur highway.
Peru’s 2,400 kilometer transcontinental highway project will link the Pacific coast of the country with Brazil’s Atlantic. Construction of the $2 billion road began in 2006, a huge price jump from the proposed initial $800 million figure, according to a report by Peru’s investigative journalism unit Convoca.
The country now plans to send a team of prosecutors to Brazil, over claims that bribes were paid to inflate construction costs during the ongoing project.
A widespread problem
“The message Brazil is sending with an investigation of this scale – and we will echo if we find evidence here – is a clear battle against corruption in the region … whoever it takes down,” Peruvian Attorney General Pablo Sánchez told Reuters.
While Odebrecht “will let (investigators) turn the house upside down and check under every cushion if necessary, because it is sure the work was done correctly.” The company’s Peruvian spokesman, Fernán Altuve responded.
Odebrecht has also been accused of receiving approximately 155 million soles ($48 million) before beginning any work on the Carhuaz-Chacas-San Luis highway.
The now ex, and incarcerated, Regional President César Álvarez is accused of fixing contracts and demanding an early down-payment.
Bad to worse
Odebrecht company President Marcelo Odebrecht has been arrested, charged with involvement in the Petrobras “Car Wash” scandal.
Current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and ex-President Lula da Silva have also been under investigation, in the largest money-laundering scheme to rock the country for decades.
More Odebrecht links keep coming out of the woodwork, as the firm also completed projects in Ecuador, Panama and the U.S.