BRASILIA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's construction giant Odebrecht has been paying the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas up to 100,000 U.S. dollars a month to work free of attacks on projects in the rebel-held territories, a Brazilian news magazine revealed on Saturday.
The construction company, currently under investigation for bribery, said the protection money, ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 dollars a month, had been paid to the FARC for some 20 years, in exchange for "permits" to undertake projects in the FARC-held territories, two executives of Odebrecht were quoted by the Vega weekly as saying.
Odebrecht had admitted paying more than 1 billion dollars in bribes to government officials across Latin America in exchange for lucrative public works contracts.
The company's involvement in corruption across the region was blown wide open on Dec. 21 when the U.S. Department of Justice released information based on interviews with Odebrecht executives.
Officials from 11 countries have agreed on Feb. 17 in Brazil to carry out a joint investigation into the widespread Odebrecht bribery scandal.
Attorney-general and prosecutor-general offices from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Venezuela agreed to team up for the probe.
Odebrecht, one of Latin America's largest building conglomerates, was at the forefront of a scheme to bribe Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras in exchange for inflated contracts
More than 70 company executives involved in the "Car Wash" probe have signed plea bargains with Brazilian prosecutors and detailed their roles in the scheme.