LIMA Dec 27 Peruvian President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski said he will terminate a $5 billion natural gas
pipeline contract if it is found to have been won with bribes,
even if corruption-plagued Brazilian builder Odebrecht exits the
In a videotaped interview with financial daily Gestion
posted online on Tuesday, Kuczynski said some of the $29 million
in bribes that Odebrecht recently acknowledged
distributing in Peru may have been used to win the pipeline
contract in 2014, which would trigger "termination of the
contract" if true.
Kuczynski said he would apply a clause in the contract for
the pipeline, the Southern Peruvian Natural Gas Pipeline, that
allows Peru to seize the concession if corruption was part of
the bidding process.
Last week Kuczynski's government said Brookfield Asset
Management Inc was close to buying Odebrecht's 55
percent stake in the project, an announcement quickly
overshadowed by revelations in a plea deal Odebrecht signed in
the United States that it had bribed officials in Peru from
about 2005 to 2014.
Odebrecht, at the center of Brazil's biggest-ever graft
scandal, must sell the 55 percent stake as a condition for bank
funding to finance its construction.
Odebrecht's junior partners on the pipeline project, Enagas
SA and Grana y Montero, are considering
buying part of Odebrecht's stake to seal a deal with Brookfield
ahead of a January financing deadline, Kuczynski said.
"Brookfield and the other companies have to evaluate with
their shareholders and the banks that give them money if they
can go forward or not" given the risk of losing the contract,
Grana did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Odebrecht, Brookfield and Enagas declined to comment.
Kuczynski's government did not immediately respond to
requests for additional comment.
Kuczynski's government has refused to strip the corruption
clause from the contract, which was a deal breaker for Sempra
Energy in talks that collapsed in November. The
government has said it would hold a new auction for the pipeline
project if Odebrecht does not exit the project by mid January.
Prosecutors in Peru have been probing possible corruption in
the pipeline contract, which Odebrecht and Enagas won in 2014
during the term of former President Ollanta Humala after their
sole competitor was disqualified the day of the auction. Grana
bought a 20 percent stake in the project from Odebrecht in 2015.
Prosecutors have said Humala took illicit funds from
Odebrecht but have not pressed charges. Humala has denied
(Reporting By Mitra Taj)