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Argentina police search Odebrecht's Buenos Aires office
May 24, 2017 / 6:29 PM / 5 months ago

Argentina police search Odebrecht's Buenos Aires office

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine police searched Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht’s Buenos Aires office on Wednesday as part of a graft investigation, the company said in a statement.

A TV camera is seen outside the building where the offices of Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht are in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Odebrecht earlier this month proposed a leniency deal to Argentine judges as part of its efforts to settle investigations of its use of bribes to help secure lucrative contracts across Latin America.

State news agency Telam said federal judge Sebastian Casanello ordered the operation in search of documents about an alleged bribe related to a water treatment plant.

“The company had presented the same judge an offer for broad and definitive collaboration with the investigations on May 9,” Odebrecht said in a statement confirming police were in its office.

In December, Odebrecht and petrochemical subsidiary Braskem SA (BRKM5.SA) settled with Brazilian, U.S. and Swiss authorities a record fine of $3.5 billion (2.7 billion pounds). In that settlement, Odebrecht admitted to bribing officials in 12 countries, including bribes of $35 million in Argentina between 2007 and 2014.

The company has been meeting with Argentine government representatives in the justice ministry and anti-corruption office in recent days.

Prosecutors investigating Odebrecht in Argentina have said the country lacks a legal mechanism for companies to reach a leniency agreement like the one signed in Brazil.

President Mauricio Macri’s administration has asked Congress to pass a bill that would allow companies to be punished for corruption and also enable them to sign leniency agreements.

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by David Gregorio

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