Brazilian company paid bribes to gain Maracana stadium contract

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Rio de Janeiro, April 19 (IANS) Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid 7.3 million reais ($2.3 million) in bribes to gain contract for the iconic Maracana Stadium here ahead of the 2014 World Cup, the Supreme Court was told.

In the confessions released by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Odebrecht’s head of structural operations, Benedito Barbosa da Silva Junior, admitted to paying $2.02 million to former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, who was arrested in November for corruption.

The rest of the money was paid to members of Rio de Janeiro’s state accounts court, an institution authorised to guarantee that public contracts are assigned legally.

Former Odebrecht executives Marcos Vidigal do Amaral, Leandro Andrade Azevedo and Joao Borba stated in their testimonies that Jonas Lopes, the president of the state accounts court, received $320,000 in bribes.

They also said the Maracana contract was rigged so that Odebrecht would carry out the work alongside with two other companies on the orders of Cabral.

The remodelling of Maracana, one of the most famous football stadiums in the world, was carried out ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

The initial budget for the project was set $225 million but rose to over $384 million in the end.

–IANS

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