January 18, 2017 / 7:27 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Peru freezes bank accounts of Camargo Correa in graft inquiry

(Adds reaction from Camargo Correa in fourth paragraph)

LIMA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Peru is freezing Camargo Correa SA’s bank accounts as it investigates the Brazilian engineering company for possible corruption, the attorney general’s office said late on Tuesday.

Authorities will also freeze the accounts of companies linked to businessman Gonzalo Monteverde, who is suspected of helping Brazilian construction companies distribute bribes in Peru, the office added on Twitter.

Prosecutors said earlier this month that Camargo Correa transferred $90,000 to an associate of former president Alejandro Toledo, who governed Peru from 2001 to 2006 when the company and others from Brazil received highway contracts.

Camargo Correa’s local unit said in a statement that it had not been officially notified that its accounts would be frozen and that it would comment further “at the right time.”

Monteverde, who could not be reached for comment, denied any wrongdoing in interviews with local media earlier this month.

Toledo’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Toledo has previously denied any involvement in bribes and said this week that he was cooperating with authorities.

The attorney general’s office has been investigating Camargo Correa for more than a year. In recent weeks, it started negotiating a plea deal with Brazilian builder Odebrecht.

Odebrecht acknowledged last month that it made $29 million in corrupt payments to win public work contracts in Peru between about 2005 and 2014, part of hundreds of millions in bribes it distributed across Latin America.

Both companies were at the center of Brazil’s biggest-ever graft inquiry, known as “Operation Car Wash.” (Reporting by Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Alan Crosby)

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