Officials raid Brazil conglomerate's Ecuador office

Officials raid Brazil conglomerate's Ecuador office

Quito (AFP) - Ecuadorian authorities have raided the Guayaquil offices of scandal-plagued Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, the Ecuadorian attorney general's office said in a statement.

Friday's search came days after the US Department of Justice revealed that Odebrecht had paid $33.5 million to Ecuadorian officials between 2007 and 2016 as part of an international bribery scheme.

During the raid authorities seized materials including folders, laptops and external hard drives as part of an open investigation requested by the Ecuadorian government.

President Rafael Correa -- in power since 2007 -- expelled the Brazilian petrochemical and construction giant in 2008 for irregularities in the development of a hydroelectric plant.

Odebrecht returned to Ecuador in 2010, where its contracts include building a section of the Quito metro system.

On Wednesday Odebrecht and its petrochemical affiliate Braskem agreed to pay $3.5 billion to the United States, Switzerland and Brazil to settle a vast international bribery case.

Ecuador has asked those three countries for information to "investigate further," according to the statement.

Odebrecht pleaded guilty to bribing government officials and political parties to the tune of $788 million to secure business on three continents -- mostly in Brazil, but also 11 other countries in Latin America and Africa.