December 31, 2018 / 7:45 PM / a year ago

Odebrecht 'has disqualified itself from working in Peru': President Vizcarra

The corporate logo of the Odebrecht SA construction conglomerate is pictured at its headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

(Reuters) - Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said on Monday that Odebrecht should not be able to continue working in Peru because the Brazilian construction company had “contaminated private activity” and admitted bribing public officials.

Vizcarra’s statement comes weeks after Odebrecht Peru signed a deal with Peruvian authorities to pay a fine of $182 million over 15 years that would allow it to continue operating in the country in return for providing evidence about officials it bribed to win infrastructure project contract.

Vizcarra was preparing on Monday to travel to Brazil for the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday. He told local radio station RPP that Odebrecht had “disqualified itself from working with the Peruvians” by paying bribes.

“Regardless of the agreement Odebrecht reached with the public prosecutor’s office in return for information, which I respect, it is my opinion that it should not continue working in Peru,” he said.

“(This) is a company that has contaminated the private sector. There are many respectable companies here but now there is distrust of all companies because of Odebrecht.”

Odebrecht is awaiting authorization from the Vizcarra government for the sale of its hydroelectric plant in Peru to the China Three Gorges for some $1.39bn, part of which would be used to pay debts to local suppliers and guarantee the payment of civil compensation.

The Peruvian president took office at the end of March after the resignation of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was accused of links to Odebrecht - links he has denied.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Aislinn Laing and David Gregorio

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