BOGOTA Feb 16 Colombian holding company
Corficolombiana said it had no knowledge of bribes paid by
Brazil's Odebrecht engineering firm in connection
with a joint highway project suspended amid a Latin America-wide
Corficolombiana has a 33 percent stake, through
subsidiary Episol, in the Ruta del Sol 2 roadway project.
Odebrecht controls 62 percent and CSS Constructores the
remaining 5 percent.
The project was temporarily suspended by a court order last
week until Colombian authorities can decide whether to declare
it null, following a confession by Odebrecht that it paid
millions in bribes across the region.
Odebrecht pled guilty in U.S. court and agreed to a $3.5
billion penalty for paying hundreds of millions of dollars in
bribes in association with projects in 12 countries, including
Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
"Grupo Aval, Corficolombiana and Episol were not aware of
the acts committed by Odebrecht," Luis Carlos Sarmiento,
president of Grupo Aval, which owns a majority stake in
Corficolombiana, said during a Wednesday call with investors.
"We condemn those acts and we will continue to offer our full
"Because we had absolutely no knowledge of our partner's
illegal actions, we have officially requested to be made part of
the case as victims of the actions of Odebrecht."
Corficolombiana shares have fallen about 20 percent since
the Odebrecht scandal came to light at the end of December.
(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra; Editing
by Bill Trott)