Odebrecht in Colombia: Update

Investigations into the Odebrecht corruption scandal continue across Latin America.

In Colombia, the latest revelations are tied to the case against the former Vice Minister of Transportation, Gabriel García Morales. García Morales is accused of receiving US$6.5 million in bribes to rig the bidding process for the Ruta del Sol II project in favor of companies in the Odebrecht consortium.

Eduardo and Enrique Ghisays, two brothers who helped launder money for García Morales through a series of shell companies, have also been arrested. Enrique Ghisays admitted to laundering US$6.5 million for García Morales.

On March 13, the Attorney General began the forfeiture process for 7 properties and shares worth US$12.5 billion related to the Odebrecht case, including properties and shares related to García Morales and the Ghisays.

Two of the companies used by the Ghisays, Pacific Infrastructure and Oil & Gas Logistics, implicate Marco Giampaoli Scatolini and Marco Menzel Amín in the corruption scandal. Menzel Amín and Giampaoli Scatolini own two important construction companies in Colombia. 

According to El Espectador García Morales convinced the two men to invest US$2 million in Pacific Infrastructure and become partners in Oil & Gas Logistics: “In short, Amín y the Venezuelan Giampaoli became the top shareholders of the Panamanian society of the Ghisays.”*

As the Odebrecht case continues to unravel, more and more businesses, firms, and powerful men and women will be implicated and charged with soliciting or accepting bribes.

The Odebrecht effect in Peru led forecasters to predict one percent drop in expected economic growth. Since most of the countries affected by the Odebrecht case have also been financing large infrastructure projects, it is possible and probable that some variation of the Odebrecht effect spreads throughout the region.

*Translations are the author’s own

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