Dominican Republic convicts two people over corruption linked to Odebrecht

·1 min read

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - A tribunal in the Dominican Republic has convicted two people for corruption involving Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, which admitted to paying $92 million in bribes to win public works contracts in the Caribbean nation.

Odebrecht in 2016 reached a plea deal with U.S. federal prosecutors in which it acknowledged paying bribes in a dozen countries as part of an effort to become a dominant player in Latin American infrastructure development.

The tribunal of three judges late on Thursday gave former Odebrecht commercial representative Angel Rondon eight years in prison on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Former Dominican public works minister Victor Diaz was ordered to serve five years for illicit enrichment and money laundering.

The judges "decided to give my head to the prosecutors" said Rondon upon leaving the courthouse. Reuters was unable to obtain comment from Diaz.

The two will remain free while they appeal the case.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Wilson Camacho told reporters that the sentence ordered the seizure of businesses and bank accounts held by Rondon and Diaz and required them to hand over luxury homes.

The tribunal absolved four other people accused in the case, saying prosecutors had not provided enough evidence to convict.

Dominican authorities in 2017 reached an agreement with Odebrecht in which the company paid a $184 million fine in exchange for providing information about its Dominican operations.

The scandal associated with Odebrecht, which has since changed its name to Novonor, rocked governments in the region, forcing the resignation of one Peruvian president. The suicide of a former Peruvian head of state has also been linked to the scandal.

(Reporting by Ezquiel Abiu, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by David Gregorio)

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