SAO PAULO Oct 9 Brazilian state-controlled
lender Caixa Econômica Federal loaned at least 350 million reais
($109 million) to Odebrecht SA in 2014 to help the engineering
conglomerate, currently caught up in a massive corruption
scandal, complete the Arena Corinthians soccer stadium amid a
dearth of other funding, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said on
Folha said Odebrecht originally planned to raise 400 million
reais in funds from state development bank BNDES and
sell 420 million reais worth of municipal tax credits to fund
the construction of the stadium.
Delays in the BNDES loan and legal action questioning the
legal validity of the tax credits left Odebrecht with a large
funding gap, the newspaper reported, without saying how it
obtained the information.
The report underscores the problems haunting Odebrecht
, Latin America's largest engineering company, which
agreed to help build many of the stadiums that hosted the 2014
World Cup - including São Paulo's Arena Corinthians.
Odebrecht is the largest of Brazil's engineering firms
accused of colluding to overcharge state-controlled oil company
Petróleo Brasileiro SA and other state firms for
contracts, then using part of the proceeds to channel donations
and bribes into the former ruling Workers Party and allies.
Prosecutors say there is evidence of bribes paid on soccer
stadiums built to host the 2014 World Cup, and in particular the
Arena Corinthians stadium.
Caixa agreed to purchase Odebrecht local bonds to
help plug the funding deficit, with former Odebrecht chief
executive Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht personally involved in the
negotiations, according to the report.
Folha said Andrés Sanchez, a lawmaker and former head of
Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, the soccer team that owns the
stadium, confirmed the transaction but refused to detail it,
because the deal was agreed between Odebrecht and Caixa.
Representatives from Odebrecht were not immediately
available to comment on the news article. A phone message to a
representative from Caixa did not get an immediate response.
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Bill Trott)