The former Ecuador project manager for Brazilian construction company Odebrecht told prosecutors that he paid a bribe of $4.8 million to Alexis Mera, legal secretary to former president Rafael Correa. His claim was backed up by the Odebrecht Latin America vice president.
Jose Conceição, who oversaw Ecuador projects valued at hundreds of millions of dollars from 2009 to 2015, says the bribe was paid to Mera through an intermediary in Peru. Former Odebrecht vice president Luiz Mameri confirmed Conceição’s testimony that the payment was made tor Mera’s services in facilitating the Ecuador projects.
Mera denies receiving bribe money and no charges have been filed against him in Ecuador. “There is no evidence that I received any money and the so-called intermediary also denies it,” he says. “The claim is based on lies by discredited Odebrecht employees and is part of the ‘coup d’état’ against the government [of Rafael Correa].”
According to Conceição and Mameri, the bribe money was transferred from Odebrecht to shell companies and then deposited into accounts of the alleged intermediary in Guaranty Trust Bank Limited Bahamas and the RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.
When asked by Guayaquil newspaper El Universo, Ecuador attorney general Ruth Palacios said she was unaware of the bribery claims. El Universo says that the testimony by Conceição and Mameri, given to Brazilian prosecutors, was made public in December 2017. Palacios said she will “look into the matter.”