September 12, 2017 / 3:13 AM / 12 days ago

Mexican agency finds irregularities in Pemex, Odebrecht contract

MEXICO CITY, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Mexico’s top anti-corruption agency said on Monday it had identified 119 million pesos ($6.7 million) in “new irregularities” from a contract between state oil company Pemex and Odebrecht, the Brazilian engineering firm that has admitted paying bribes in a dozen countries in recent years.

Mexico’s Public Administration Ministry (SFP), the government’s main anti-corruption auditor, said in a statement that the contract was for work at Pemex’s second biggest refinery, the Miguel Hidalgo facility in Tula, Hidalgo state and involved an unnamed employee of the national oil company.

The SFP has launched preliminary sanctioning procedures, but this did not amount to a final verdict and would not prejudice the remaining steps in the investigative process, the statement added.

The SFP investigation began late last year, and covers the awarding and execution of public works contracts between Pemex and a unit of Odebrecht.

The embattled Brazilian firm is involved in a sprawling corruption saga in which it has already paid $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland, embroiling politicians across Latin America.

Odebrecht has admitted to U.S. and Brazilian prosecutors that it paid $10.5 million in bribes in Mexico, but details have not been made public.

In June, Pemex said it notified Odebrecht that it was canceling the 2015 engineering, procurement and construction contract at the Tula refinery, following an investigation into “administrative irregularities.”

$1 = 17.6950 Mexican pesos Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Richard Pullin

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