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LIMA Jan 2 Peru has demanded a "significant
sum" of cash from Brazilian builder Odebrecht before starting
talks toward a plea deal that would reveal the names of
officials it bribed over a period spanning three presidencies,
the attorney general's office said Monday.
Hamilton Castro, lead prosecutor investigating the company,
declined to specify how much Peru was seeking initially, but
said Odebrecht would have to pay a bigger sum later in a final
agreement after it provides details on crimes it committed in
Last month Odebrecht, a family-owned conglomerate at the
center of Brazil's biggest ever graft scandal, signed a plea
deal in the United States. It acknowledged distributing hundreds
of millions in bribes across Latin America, including $29
million in Peru from which it got more than $143 million in
"The illegal earnings the company obtained must be returned
to the Peruvian state, that's why we're negotiating a
significant sum of cash that must be deposited in public coffers
as prepayment," Castro told a news conference, describing the
requirement as "unprecedented" in the Andean country.
Castro said his team would uncover Odebrecht's kickback
schemes in Peru with or without its help, but that direct talks
would expedite the investigation he started in November based on
Swiss intelligence reports.
Odebrecht said in a statement that it would cooperate with
prosecutors and was carrying out internal reforms to prevent
corruption. The company declined further comment.
A plea deal with Peru would be the second outside Brazil for
the company, which faces mounting debt, financing troubles and
criminal probes from Ecuador to Panama.
Odebrecht and an affiliated company agreed to pay a record
$3.5 billion in a settlement last month with U.S., Brazilian and
Odebrecht operated a sophisticated network of corruption and
had encrypted details on its bribes that Swiss prosecutors were
still working on decoding, said Castro.
Castro said Peruvian prosecutors had made several trips
abroad and established strong ties with their foreign
counterparts that were yielding important results.
"We've already secured the fundamental information" Castro
Peru was the first country outside Brazil where Odebrecht
ventured nearly four decades ago, and is home to some of its
most ambitious projects, from an irrigation tunnel through the
Andes to a highway that crosses the Amazon.
Last week the government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
said Odebrecht would be barred from bidding on public contracts
thanks to new anti-graft rules and that it might
sue the company for damages.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj, Additional reporting By Bruno
Federowski in Sao Paulo; Editing by Tom Brown and David