SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A Cabinet minister in the Dominican Republic will remain in custody as he faces charges in a corruption case involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Supreme Court Justice Francisco Ortega ruled Wednesday that Industry and Commerce Minister Tamistocles Montas will be held for at least six months of "preventive detention" as authorities investigate allegations that Odebrecht paid bribes to secure government construction contracts.
The judge said seven others will also be held but that three legislators suspected of involvement cannot be detained because of parliamentary immunity. Two former officials got house arrest for health reasons.
Executives of Odebrecht told U.S. prosecutors that the company paid $92 million in bribes to Dominican officials since 2001 to secure government contracts.
Montas says he did not sign the contracts and has denied any wrongdoing.
This story has been corrected to show the Cabinet minister will be at least six months.