Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, the company that spent millions on bribes in Colombia, will take part in an anti-corruption forum in the capital Bogota next week.
The forum is part of a wider PR offensive that seeks to recover the disgraced firm’s image that was destroyed after the US Justice Department accused it of bribing governments throughout Latin America and in Africa.
The corruption scandal also severely ruined the reputation of President Ivan Duque, who met with the now-jailed Odebrecht CEO ahead of the 2014 elections that saw the company illegally sponsor both the campaign of President Juan Manuel Santos and his opponent, allegedly with the help of Nestor Humberto Martinez, who is now Colombia’s chief prosecutor.
The organizer of the forum, Margalida Smith, told newspaper El Espectador that the company will take part in the summit because “the company has launched a not just a proactive, but a pro-activist mission to help other companies to avoid these situations.”
Whether the organizer referred to corruption practices or getting caught while engaging in corruption practices is unclear.
Odebrecht financed Santos’ 2010 campaign and allegedly the 2014 campaign of both Santos (U Party) and his main rival, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (Democratic Center) while it was vying for major infrastructure projects like the so-called “Ruta del Sol,” a major highway connecting the capital Bogota to the Caribbean coast.
The company sued the Colombian state after Santos decided to nullify the granted contracts because of the exposed corruption practices.
Despite the corruption and the lawsuit, the company apparently still has hope it can recover its reputation, and continue to take part in infrastructure projects, initially by anti-corruption summits that seek to clean the company’s destroyed its reputation in Colombia and multiple other Latin American countries.