Former President of Odebrecht Convicted

The court ruling that imposed a 19 year prison sentence has forced a review of the projects being managed by the company in the region, where two projects which are underway in Panama alone, total $2.4 billion.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

On March 8th the Brazilian justice system condemned Marcelo Odebrecht, former CEO of the largest Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, to 19 years and 4 months in prison and to pay a fine of $35 million along with executives from the group for the payment of about $65 million in bribes to officials in the case of corruption in the state run oil company Petrobras, reported La Prensa. The ruling mentioned fraud in tenders, where bribes were also paid for the award of the works. reports that "... while these tenders and adjudications took place, in March 2015 Panama had been asked for judicial cooperation by Brazilian prosecutors after discovering banking movements in the country made by a company which was linked to Odebrecht, suspected of laundering money for Petrobras executives. "

Panama is the place in Central America where the company has participated the most actively since it set up there during the Torrijos administration. The Brazilian company built the coastal strip in phases 1, 2 and 3, Line 1 of the Panama Metro, and more recently, it was awarded with the contract to build line 2 for $1.857 billion, currently under construction. In addition, in June 2015 it won a tender in consortium with another company to develop the Colon Urban Renewal Project, valued at $537 million and which is currently underway.

In Guatemala, in 2013 an award was made to Norberto Odebrecht, SA to extend the stretch of road from Escuintla (west) to the border with El Salvador for the amount of Q3.000 million ($387 million). At that time, the government of then-president, Otto Perez Molina announced the construction of 76 bridges as part of the work. The company was subsequently linked to the construction company OAS, which is a subsidiary, over the same case of bribes to Petrobras.

In Honduras, Norberto Odebrecht decided to close its offices in Tegucigalpa , citing government problems in financing the hydroelectric projects Llanitos and Jicatuyo, which the Brazilian company was to build.

More on this topic

Odebrecht: An Open Secret

January 2017

The revelation that the brazilian construction company paid nearly $60 million in bribes in Panama is a clear wake-up call to society and the private sector, which must demand transparency in government procurement processes.


Go-Ahead for Odebrecht in Panama

July 2015

In granting approval of the funding proposal put forward by the consortium Odebrecht / FCC for Metro Line 2, the Panamanian government has cleared any doubts about the participation of the Brazilian company.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio De La Guardia, told that "...

The Arrest of Odebrecht's President

June 2015

In Panama questions have arisen about the impact that will be felt from the arrest in Brazil of Marcelo Odebrecht on the many projects awarded to his company in the country.

The arrest of Marcelo Odebrecht has generated uncertainty in important projects awarded to the Brazilian company, some of which are under implementation or have recently been awarded such as the Metro Line 2.

Large Companies Notably Absent in Tenders in Panama

May 2015

It is significant the absence of companies from countries where bribery abroad is criminalized in tenders for large scale government works in Panama.


An article in by Jorge Gamboa Arosemena contains the key points to analyze this issue, following the announcement of the winner of the tender for the works of Line 2 of the Panama Metro.

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