Cartagena (Colombia) (EFE) Odebrecht company for the construction of the Ruta del Sol II highway.
Among those accused is Luis Fernando Andrade, former director of the ANI, as “alleged co-perpetrator of the crime of undue interest in the execution of contracts,” the Prosecutor’s Office said at a press conference in Cartagena de Indias.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the officials and former officials of the ANI “intervened in the subscription of six addenda (addendums) to the Ruta del Sol II SAS concession that would have favored the contractor.”
These additions would have generated a “negative impact”, due to the non-collection of fines, discounts and other irregularities, for a value of more than 160,000 million pesos (about 38.6 million dollars).
The entity added that it will also file charges against “22 more people”, including foreign executives of the construction company and contractors who intervened in a “corruption network with which Odebrecht executives would have created a criminal company to deliver more than 80,000 million pesos (about 19.5 million dollars) in bribes in Colombia”.
Among this second round of accusations, which will be for the crimes of conspiracy to commit a crime and money laundering, are foreigners such as Marcelo Odebrecht, who was president of the conglomerate between 2008 and 2015; the president of the Ruta del Sol II concession in 2010, Eder Paolo Ferracuti, and the Brazilians Eleuberto Martorelli, Luis Antonio Bueno Junior and Luis Batista, among others.
The Route of the Sun II
The Prosecutor’s Office “has revealed the criminal mechanism”, in the words of the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, which allowed the multinational, from its headquarters in Brazil, to create a department “dedicated exclusively to the distribution of bribes throughout the world”, as he explained in a press conference.
This model was replicated in Colombia, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, and the bribes had “the help of senior government officials such as ministers and directors of institutes; congressmen, public officials of different levels, lobbyists, contractors and individuals”, explained the Prosecutor’s Office.
This “parallel criminal company”, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, acted in the award of the contract for the so-called Ruta del Sol II, which connects the center of the country, from Puerto Salgar, in the department of Cundinamarca, with the Caribbean, in San Roque ( Cease).
Thus, “gifts” paid through “offshore” companies were secured, and in less than eight years Odebrecht managed to appropriate “public resources for its own benefit, as well as for the payment of bribes for more than 80,000 million pesos.”
The announcement of the accusations is made after the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, has spent days questioning the political and corruption plot that surrounds this infrastructure project.
“The highway is the Ruta del Sol, they call it the trocha del sol today, and we lost 2 billion pesos (about 487 million dollars) and they took millions of dollars and bribed politicians and politicians and politicians and there is no Ruta del Sol II today,” he said at an event this week.
In addition, last Tuesday Petro ordered the Foreign Ministry to “use all means of legal collaboration with the governments of the US and Brazil to establish the damages and reparations that the Grupo Aval’s confession generates for the Colombian State.”
Grupo Aval, owned by Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, one of the richest men in Colombia, is the majority shareholder of Corficolombiana, a company linked to the bribes paid by Odebrecht to win the Ruta del Sol construction contract. II.
Last Friday the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Grupo Aval “of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)”, for which that conglomerate agreed to pay 40 million dollars to resolve the charges, while Corficolombiana signed a “deferred prosecution” agreement for which it will pay 20 million dollars.
The Prosecutor’s Office has already charged ministers and other people, including former Uribe presidential candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga and his son David Zuluaga, for the Odebrecht blows in Colombia.
According to Barbosa, who announced 60 new charges this week, in the Odebrecht corruption case there are about 110 charges that include renowned former officials.