Odebrecht admits payments to Colombian presidential campaigns

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-01 06:56:01|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BOGOTA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- President of Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, in Colombia, has admitted to having made illicit payments to the 2014 presidential campaigns of President Juan Manuel Santos and Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

In a confession to federal prosecutors, revealed Wednesday by Blu Radio, Eleuberto Antonio Martorelli stated that in February 2014, Odebrecht paid 1 million U.S. dollars to a Panama company named Paddington, linked to Colombian advertising agency Sancho BBDO, in order to carry out a poll to improve the image of Santos, who won the 2014 election.

In terms of the campaign of Zuluaga, who lost to Santos in the second round, Odebrecht served as an intermediary for Brazilian publicist, Duda Mendonca, to whom it paid 1.6 million U.S. dollars.

"I paid for the opinion poll, which to my understanding was for President Santos, 1 million U.S. dollars, which I paid to a company named Paddington in Panama, as well as the payments to publicist Duda Mendonca for the campaign of Oscar Ivan Zuluaga," said Martorelli.

The Odebrecht executive also admitted having met former congressman Otto Bula in 2013. Bula is currently under arrest as part of this corruption case and is to testify on Wednesday on his presumed handling of illicit payments for the Santos campaign.

Starting within Brazil's sweeping investigation into the Petrobras corruption ring, Odebrecht is found to have paid bribes to dozens of politicians across Latin America, with many since having been arrested.