April 6, 2017 / 2:13 AM / 3 years ago

Mexico's Pemex says officials to testify in Odebrecht bribery probe

The logo of Mexican petroleum company Pemex is seen on a tank gas at a gas station in Mexico City, Mexico, January 2, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - State-owned oil company Pemex said on Wednesday that Mexican prosecutors have called for testimony from Pemex officials in an investigation of a bribery scandal around Brazil-based builder Odebrecht.

Pemex said in a statement that Mexico’s attorney general’s office on April 3 had requested testimony from company officials, whom Pemex did not name, as well as copies of contracts between Pemex, Odebrecht and an affiliated petrochemical company, Braskem.

Odebrecht and Braskem pleaded guilty in late November in a U.S. court to paying officials to help secure lucrative construction contracts in 12 countries.

The Brazilian companies agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion, the largest penalty ever in a foreign bribery case, but that deal potentially opened them to new prosecution in other countries.

Pemex said on Wednesday it has a contract for the supply of ethane with Braskem and its Mexican partner Grupo IDESA. Both companies formed the Braskem-IDESA partnership in 2010 for the Ethylene XXI project, a petrochemical complex for the production of polyethylene in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

Pemex also signed two contracts with Odebrecht for the construction at the Tula refinery in central Mexico. The fourth contract is for the development of a waste management project at the Salamanca refinery, also in central Mexico, carried out by Odebrecht and Mexican firm ICA Fluor. According to the U.S. court ruling, between 2001 and 2016, Odebrecht paid approximately $788 million in bribes in association with 100 projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.

In Mexico, Odebrecht company paid $10.5 million to obtain public works contracts between 2010 and 2014, which generated more than $39 million in profits, according to the U.S. ruling.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Leslie Adler

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