Odebrecht agrees to pay $220 million fine, aid Panama probe

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] agreed to pay $220 million in fines and will cooperate with investigators probing bribes of Panamanian officials, the Central American country’s attorney general said on Tuesday.

The fine included $100 million for using the banking system for illicit activities, said Panama’s attorney general, Kenia Porcell.

“This is a clear message to all that you can not use Panamanian banks to realize acts of money laundering,” Porcell told a news conference.

Representatives of Odebrecht Panama were not immediately available for comment.

Odebrecht allegedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with infrastructure projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Panama between 2002 and 2016.

Panamanian officials are investigating 43 people related to projects contracted during the last three presidential administrations. Authorities have frozen $56 million in assets in Switzerland and Andorra in relation to the probe.

Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Sandra Maler