For controversial company Norberto Odebrecht SA, embroiled in an international corruption scandal, the party didn’t end when it was expelled from Ecuador by President Rafael Correa in 2008. After reconciliation with the Government, in 2013 the Brazilian construction corporation became the prime State contractor with contracts worth $441 million, as recorded by the National Public Procurement Service (SERCOP).
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This is according to the Center for Economic & Social Rights (CDES) in a report which details the projects undertaken by Odebrecht in Ecuador. The paper notes that during three decades of operations (1987 to 2013), the company secured approximately 15 infrastructure projects with different public institutions worth a total of $2.293 billion, of which six projects were funded wholly or partially by the National Bank for Economic & Social Development (BNDES for its Portuguese acronym). Over the same period, contributions to Odebrecht from BNDES totaled $639 million.
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CDES also collected data from the Superintendency of Companies, Securities & Insurance which shows that, between 2006 and 2008, Odebrecht recorded revenues of over $354 million; and between 2012 and 2013, $360 million. These figures don’t take into account Odebrecht’s Ecuadorian subsidiary, Constructora Norberto Odebrecht del Ecuador SA, which has shown significant revenue increases from $1 million in 2011 to $11 million in 2012 and $27 million in 2013.
Despite huge profits, the Brazilian construction corporation carries a minimal tax burden; from 2006-2013 it paid $6 million in income tax, equivalent to just 1% of its income.
Furthermore, by 2015, the company had been awarded the contract for the second phase of the Quito Metro, worth approximately $2 billion.
In March 2016, the President of the Brazilian construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for corruption, a scandal that not only shook Brazil but much of Latin America, due to the involvement of Odebrecht in several mega projects mostly linked to infrastructure development. According to documents from the company’s own finance department, Odebrecht has been paying bribes since 1980 and had a department especially for this purpose.