Panama to cancel Odebrecht contract amid corruption scandal

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 27, 2016 10:57 PM

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama said on Tuesday it will cancel a contract given to Brazil's Odebrecht and will not allow the company to participate in public bids, shortly after Odebrecht admitted to bribing officials in Panama and other countries to obtain government contracts.

Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] doled out more than $59 million in bribes to officials and intermediaries in Panama between about 2010 and 2014, according to a plea agreement last week in a United States court.

The government of Panama said in a statement that after reviewing the revelations of the case, it has decided to cancel a $1 billion contract given to Odebrecht in 2014 for a hydroelectric project in the Bocas del Toro province.

It will also make Odebrecht withdraw from the bid process to design and build a fourth bridge on the Panama Canal and the Linea 3 metro line, and it will ban Odebrecht from winning future projects until it cooperates with local authorities.

A spokeswoman for Odebrecht in Panama did not have an immediate comment.

(Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Richard Pullin)