Panama attorney general to seek Odebrecht’s unpaid fines

The corporate logo of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured at its headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Panamanian attorney general’s office will ask a judge to order Odebrecht to pay fines due in 2019 and 2020 after the corruption-ensnared Brazilian conglomerate failed to pay, prosecutor Anilu Batista said on Friday.

Panamanian authorities fined Odebrecht in 2017 for paying bribes in exchange for construction contracts in the Central American country.

The company owes more than $35.5 million, a judicial source at the attorney general’s office said. Odebrecht did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Odebrecht had made the payments for 2017 and 2018 as well as an advance of $1.1 million for 2019, the source said.

Panama’s attorney general and the company, which has since filed for bankruptcy protection, negotiated in 2017 an agreement that stipulates payments totalling $220 million spread out over 12 years.

Batista said at a virtual news conference on Friday the office will request a hearing before a judge to establish that Odebrecht has not paid the fees established and a 5% delinquency charge.

Panama has investigated infrastructure projects carried out in the last three governments. Tania Sterling, the country’s anti-corruption prosecutor, said the investigation has concluded with the indictment of 101 people.

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