Argentina probes Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht's local unit

miércoles 9 de marzo de 2016 17:47 GYT

By Nicolás Misculin

BUENOS AIRES, March 9 (Reuters) - Argentina is investigating whether the local unit of Odebrecht paid bribes to government officials, an Argentine prosecutor said on Wednesday, deepening the regional fallout from the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil's history.

The probe laid out by Sergio Rodriguez, the lead prosecutor on public administration investigations, is a further sign of international cooperation in a case that saw a Brazilian court on Tuesday hand down a 19-year prison sentence to the company's former chief executive officer, Marcelo Odebrecht.

"An investigation is underway," Rodriguez said in an interview. "We're looking to determine whether the cartel maneuvers witnessed in Brazil were replicated here in some form. Odebrecht is one of those implicated."

The investigator declined to give further details on the probe. The corruption case in Brazil stems from a vast bribery scheme at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , or Petrobras.

A spokesman for Constructora Norberto Odebrecht, known more commonly as Odebrecht Argentina, said that the firm "had not been notified of any judicial process."

Odebrecht Argentina projects include gas pipelines, highways and waterworks.

Marcelo Odebrecht, who until his arrest last June ran Latin America's largest construction company, was convicted of bribery, money laundering and organized crime.

His detention put billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects in the region under fresh scrutiny.   Continuación...