By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Government officials in Peru have ordered the seizing of more than R$190 million in assets from construction conglomerate Odebrecht and seven other Brazilian companies operating in the country, according to Peruvian website Ojo Público.
The investigative newspaper reported that the eight companies are involved in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption scandal.
The assets confiscated include money in bank accounts, real estate property and vehicles of these companies in the country. According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, among the companies affected are Queiroz Galvão and OAS.
Late last year Odebrecht executives admitted to U.S. officials that the company distributed more than US$29 million in bribes in Peru between 2005 and 2014 for benefits in infrastructure works in the Latin American country.
In January, Odebrecht signed an agreement with Peru’s prosecutors’ office to return more than US$8.9 million from illicit gains. A few days later Peruvian officials cancelled a US$7 billion pipeline project led by the Brazilian construction company shut down all Odebrecht operations in the country and ordered the company to leave.
According to another Peruvian newspaper, El Comercio, Odebrecht started operations in Peru in 1979 and controls 27 companies in the country – eight subsidiaries and 19 of Peruvian origin.
Two former presidents, Alan García and Ollanta Humala testified last week about irregularities in infrastructure works during their terms in office. The third former president, Alejandro Toledo, has had an arrest warrant issued but is out of the country.
Humala has denied any wrongdoing in the Peruvian Southern Gas Pipeline concession. “I do not belong to the club of the fugitive presidents or those who go to live abroad,” Humala was reported saying by Peruvian media last week, referring to Toledo, “Do not put me in the middle of the gang of ex-presidents.”