The goal is to ensure “the widest, fastest, most effective cooperation” among the countries investigating the multi-million dollar corruption scandal
On Thursday attorney generals and chief prosecutors from 11 Latin American countries met in Brazil to create a joint task force to investigate the massive Odebrecht bribery scandal engulfing the region.
Brazilian Attorney General Rodrigo Janot hosted the meeting attended by his counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, and Venezuela.
All agreed to establish “joint research teams, bilateral or multilateral, that allow coordinated research on the Odebrecht case,” in which the Brazilian construction giant is accused of paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to politicians and political operatives in at least 12 countries.
The goal of the agreement, released after Thursday’s meeting in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, is to create “the widest, fastest, most effective cooperation,” in an investigation which has already ensnared leading political figures in Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and Peru.
A joint statement released after the meeting said that while each country “will act with full technical autonomy and develop their operations’ independence” the alliance will attempt to coordinate “recovering the assets and comprehensive reparations for the damage caused by those illicit acts, including the paying of fines.”
The joint investigation will also coordinate with Brazil’s ongoing Operation Car Wash investigation related to that country’s state-run oil giant Petrobras.
For 73 years Odebrecht has been the leading construction company in Latin America and is currently active in 27 countries worldwide.
The company has already agreed to pay over US$450 million in fines in the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Peru, in addition to a US$3.5 billion joint settlement reached in December with the governments of Brazil, Switzerland, and the U.S. related to bribery charges in those countries.