Odebrecht official says bribes were paid to VP Glas; Taped conversations indicate money link to uncle

Aug 1, 2017 | 17 comments

For the first time since the Odebrecht corruption scandal broke, a company official says that bribes were paid to Ecuador Vice President Jorge Glas. Glas has repeatedly denied any connection to the scandal despite the fact that his uncle Ricardo Rivera has been charged with receiving millions in bribes from the Brazilian construction company.

Glas denies the allegation and warns that more tapes of his personal conversations with Odebrecht officials may emerge that present him in a “bad light.”

Vice President Jorge Glas

On Tuesday, Brazilian newspaper O Globo  and the investigative consortium  IDL-Reporters published transcripts of taped 2016 conversations between Jose Conceição, former director of Odebrecht operations in Ecuador, and former Ecuador comptroller Carlos Pólit. Although the conversations focused on the method Odebrecht used to transfer bribe money to Pólit, they also included references to Glas and Rivera.

In the recordings, Conceição says, “Glas has asked me for money on all the  contracts,” and suggested that money was channeled through Rivera.

Pólit, who fled the country last year when bribery allegation surfaced in the press, also acknowledged that Glas was receiving bribes. “I understand that Jorge Glas is asking for lots of money,” he said.

According to IDL-Reporters, more information on Odebrecht bribes to Ecuadorian officials will be released in the coming days.

Some Glas critics claim that President Lenin Moreno is aware of more corruption evidence against the vice president and that Moreno’s Monday night plea that “all those with knowledge of corruption come forward,” was preparation for Glas’s fate. Journalist José Hernández, who calls Glas a “political cadaver,” says Moreno needs to continue to root out corruption in the government once the vice president is gone. “Checks and balances must be restored so that justice operates independently from the will of other branches of government.”

Glas issued a statement Tuesday afternoon maintaining his innocence and calling the new allegations an attack against him personally as well as against the “Citizens Revolution.” Later, he said that other tapes may emerge that might “portray him in a bad light” but they would not prove he was involved in corrupt acts.