Caracas, January 11th 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The opposition state governor for Miranda, Henrique Capriles Radonski, has been summoned to appear before the Venezuelan Comptroller General’s office this Thursday in connection to the region-wide Odebrecht corruption scandal.
As state governor since 2008, Capriles will have to provide information relating to contracts granted by Miranda’s state government to the Brazil based construction company Odebrecht, which has been found guilty of orchestrating one of the most far-reaching bribery rackets in history.
Last December, Odebrecht and its petrochemical subsidiary company Braskem SA agreed to pay a record-breaking USD$3.5 billion for violating US anti-bribery laws at a federal court in Brooklyn, U.S.A.
The settlement is the result of a three year investigation into the company, which was revealed to have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to secure lucrative government construction contracts across 12 countries - including Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Angola. A large percentage of the money was channeled through US banking agencies and via a shell corporation in the British Virgin Isles.
Confirming the news of his citation on Wednesday, Capriles made a public statement accusing the national government of attempting to smear his reputation and decrying the summons as politically motivated.
“They are trying to tarnish me through the Odebrecht case,” Capriles said.
“They have attempted to involve me, and here I have all the details that Odebrecht worked with the Miranda state government before I became governor,” he continued.
According to reports, the bulk of Odebrecht’s Venezuelan contracts were commissioned in Miranda state, although the majority were never carried out.
However Capriles, who twice represented the opposition in the 2012 and 2013 presidential elections, is not the only Venezuelan political figure believed to be implicated in the high-profile scandal.
Between 2006 and 2015, Odebrecht is accused by the US Department of Justice of bribing Venezuelan “government intermediaries and officials” to the tune of 98 million dollars in a bid to “secure and retain public works contracts”.
“ODEBRECHT typically used intermediaries to negotiate contracts with government officials on behalf of the company, ODEBRECHT understood that these intermediaries would pay bribes to government officials on behalf of the company in order to influence the allocation of resources to ODEBRECHT projects,” reads the US Justice Department’s information sheet on the case.
Over the past fifteen years, the company has received a number of multi-million dollar contracts from the Venezuelan national government and state oil company PDVSA, including metro construction projects, upgrades to oil refineries, the renovation of the principal international airport, and public housing and infrastructure builds.
Most of the contracts were granted under the remit of regional cooperation between Venezuela and Brazil.
To date no Venezuelan official has been arrested as a result of the investigation.