Although Ecuador’s investigation into the Odebrecht bribery scandal is in the early stages, the national prosecutor’s office has already identified what it claims is part of the network used to make illegal payments.
Working with the Internal Revenue Service, investigators have identified four companies that funneled payments to government officials and businessmen involved in Odebrecht contracts. Preliminary information shows that the companies distributed at least $8 million that does not show up on its books.
Prosecutors say the money is only the tip of the iceberg in bribes, since Odebrecht admits to paying more than $33.5 million in bribes in Ecuador.
At a Saturday morning arraignment, Judge Yolanda Mayorga ordered the continued detention of five of the six bribery suspects arrested on Friday. The biggest name in the group, Ricardo Rivera, uncle of Vice President Jorge Glass, was ordered to remain under house arrest, wearing an electronic ankle monitor, due to poor health.
Mayorga released former Latacunga Mayor Jose Rubén Terán, saying evidence did not warrant his arrest.
None of the four companies that Attorney General Carlos Baca says provided illegal payments, are still in operation. Investigators say the companies provide supplies to various Odebrecht construction projects in Ecuador.