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News > Latin America

Panama To Charge Odebrech $36 Million for Late Payment

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "Down with corrupt politicians, out with corruption", Panama. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 March 2021 (12 hours 10 minutes ago)
Opinion

The Brazilian construction company has not paid for two years the annual installment corresponding to a US$220 million fine.

Panama's Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (ACO) on Monday requested a 5 percent surcharge to the fine imposed on Norberto Odebrecht Company for non-compliance with the payment.

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In 2017, the Brazilian firm and its local branch agreed to pay a fine of US$220 million due to corrupted activities. Annually, it must pay US$18.3 million.

The last payment received by the National Treasury, however, dates from 2019. Odebrecht's defense team argues that the Panamanian state has not paid the company about US$20 million for works carried out. 

It is the first control hearing requested by the ACO to force the company to the delinquent payment for two years. 

On Monday, Judge Hector Zarzavilla ruled that the Public Prosecutor's Office must resort to civil and not penal proceedings to collect the money from Odebrecht.

ACO Prosecutor Anilu Batista appealed the decision highlighting that penal laws envisage imprisonment or seizure in cases of non-compliance with the fine. Another hearing will take place on March 22. 

Odebrecht's corruption scandal began in 2016 when the Brazilian company pleaded guilty before a Federal Court in the U.S. for having paid millionaire bribes to officials in at least 12 countries in exchange for contracts.

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