Local June 22, 2015 | 8:26 am

Petrobras scandal tarnishes Dominican Republic presidents

Santo Domingo.- The scandal in Brazil’s state-owned petroleum conglomerate Petrobas and the giant construction company Norberto Odebrecht has links to Dominican Republic’s power plant project at Punta Catalina, Bani (south) where “Odebrecht manipulated and extorted to win the call for tenders,” reports Epoca magazine in Colombia, where a separate probe has been launched.

The scandal will likely further tarnish the image of president Danilo Medina and former president Leonel Fernandez, both of whom forged strong ties with former Brazilian president Luis Ignazio Lula da Silva and Odebrecht.

Odebrecht CEI Marcelo Odebrecht is being held in Brazil on the Petrobras scandal, along with the CEO of Andrade Gutierrez, which also has infrastructure contracts in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Odebrecht defrauded the state of Brazil and distributed bribes among Colombian government officials,” according to Epoca magazine, which reports that Bogotá authorities announced a “deep investigation” into Odebrecht’s contracts in that country.

On April 30 Epoca published a report that Lula da Silva used his political influence to secure Odebrecht contracts, including Dominican Republic. “Lula’s party backed Danilo Medina’s bid for the presidency.”

It said “Odebrecht’s offer doubled that of the second place bid,” in the Punta Catalina power plant project, one of the most questioned investments during medina’s Administration, since it will used coal as fuel.

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