The scandal involving Odebrecht has rocked various South American countries, as corruption practices used by the company and officials from these states for years, have been revealed.
Odebrecht, the largest construction and development company in Latin America, admitted in 2016 that it had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on bribes in 12 countries in the region to win government contracts.
According to local media reports, Odebrecht gave at least $439 million in bribes to senior officials in several Latin American countries between 2001-2016 in order to win contracts.
The US Department of Justice claimed, however, that Odebrecht paid approximately $788 million in bribes to foreign government officials to win contracts in 12 countries. The bribes were facilitated through the use of off-shore bank accounts, shell companies, and secret transactions, and, according to reports, the scheme resulted in payments and profits of around $3.3 billion. Parts of the scheme also took place in the United States, according to Justice Department.
The Odebrecht probe, one of the biggest corruption scandals in Latin America, has triggered investigations in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, and Ecuador.
The situation resulted in the dismissals of many high-ranking officials across the continent.
In July 2018, the Brazilian-based construction company reportedly agreed to pay some $700 million in compensation to the nation's government as a fine in the corruption case.