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Colombian Officials Got $27M in Odebrecht Bribes, Prosecutor says


FILE - A sign of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feb. 26, 2016.

Colombian officials received $27 million in bribes from Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, more than double previously thought, as the company sought to win a road-building contract, Colombia's attorney general said on Tuesday.

As fallout from a massive corruption scandal continues to bite Odebrecht, Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said bribes paid for the contract to build a 528-km (328-mile) highway were much more than the $11 million originally estimated.

Martinez said criminal charges for money laundering would be filed against two Brazilian citizens, one Portuguese and three Colombians. He will also ask the Supreme Court of Justice to investigate five congressional lawmakers.

Seven people, including a former senator and an ex-vice minister of transport, have been jailed for involvement in the corruption scandal.

Odebrecht's bribes in Colombia spilled over into the election campaigns of President Juan Manuel Santos, who in March acknowledged that his 2010 election campaign received illegal payments. He said he had no knowledge at the time of the payments.

Odebrecht allegedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with infrastructure projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, between 2002 and 2016.

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