July 31, 2019 / 4:07 PM / 2 months ago

Cemex Colombian subsidiary denies corruption after media report

BOGOTA, July 31 (Reuters) - Cement-maker Cemex Latam Holdings on Wednesday denied having a department dedicated to bribes, after a report in Colombian media alleged corruption at the company.

Cemex Latam Holdings (CLH), a subsidiary of Mexico’s Cemex , is under investigation by the United States and Colombia to determine if it violated corruption laws during the construction of a plant in the South American country.

A column published in Colombian news magazine Semana last month alleged documents show the company sought to expand its cement and concrete business by financing political campaigns and paying bribes.

Reuters could not independently verify the column’s claims.

“Contrary to what has been published in some media, Cemex does not have an office that is dedicated to activities that are contrary to the law,” CLH said in a statement to the country’s financial regulator.

The cement-maker explained that its Enterprise Risk Management office, alluded to in the column, is meant to examine difficulties which the company could potentially face.

“For Cemex the administration of risk is fundamental to reduce the impact of adverse events and to capitalize on opportunities that emerge from an ever-more complicated and uncertain business environment,” the statement said.

CLH added it will continue to cooperate with investigators.

In 2016 the company severed its relationship with some former executives because of irregularities that cost the company at least $20 million.

The attorney general’s office has convicted one of the former executives for fraud and is prosecuting another for illicit enrichment, money laundering and falsifying documents, CLH said.

The whereabouts of both executives are unknown.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Marguerita Choy

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