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News > Latin America

Colombian Attorney General: Santos Campaign Took Odebrecht Cash

  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 February 2017

Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht allegedly sent President Santos' 2014 reelection campaign up to US$1 million.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' 2014 election campaign received as much as US$1 million from Brazil's Odebrecht SA, the country's attorney general said Tuesday.

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A portion of US$4.6 billion allegedly paid by engineering company Odebrecht to Otto Bula, a former Liberal Party senator, was designated for the Santos reelection campaign, Colombia's Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said in a statement.

"It has been established that of that amount, in 2014, Mr. Otto Bula sent two transfers to Colombia, which were cashed at the time, for US$1 million, and whose final beneficiary was the campaign management of 'Santos for President-2014,'" he said.

The president's campaign chief Roberto Prieto denied the accusation and Camilo Enciso, the president's transparency secretary, said the allegations were untrue.

Bula, who was arrested last month on charges of bribery and illicit enrichment, was tasked by Odebrecht with ensuring a certain number of higher-priced tolls were included in a contract to build a highway, Martinez said.

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The campaign of Santos's rival in the election, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, is also being investigated for receiving money from Odebrecht. Zuluaga was the candidate for former President Alvaro Uribe's right-wing Democratic Center party.

Odebrecht's reputation was hit after prosecutors in Brazil revealed a bribes-for-contracts scandal that has extended into other countries.

U.S. prosecutors allege that Odebrecht paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, between 2002 and 2016.

Prosecutors in Peru Tuesday asked a judge to order the arrest of former President Alejandro Toledo for suspected involvement.

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