11 countries agree to cooperate on Odebrecht graft case
Prosecutors from 11 countries have agreed to cooperate on a massive corruption case involving Brazilian firm Odebrecht, a media report said.
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela agreed on Thursday to establish "the broadest, most rapid and effective cooperation", Efe news reported.
The meeting was organised by the Brazilian Attorney General's Office and attended by the chief law enforcement officials from the other 10 nations.
All these countries are investigating the corrupt practices - including the paying of huge bribes - engaged in by the construction firm to land public construction contracts.
In a communique released after the meeting conducted amid strict secrecy, the participants said that they agreed to create "joint teams for investigation, bilateral and multilateral" to coordinate the investigations in Brazil and the other countries where Odebrecht engaged in its illegal activities.
Those groups, the statement said, "will act with full technical autonomy and develop their operations independence".
They also emphasised "the importance of recovering the assets and comprehensive reparations for the damage caused by those illicit acts, including the paying of fines, according to the laws of each country".
In Brazil, prosecutors have been investigating the corruption scheme in which Salvador, Brazil-based Odebrecht and numerous other construction companies systematically paid bribes to executives at state-controlled oil company Petrobras in exchange for inflated contracts.