National Court Judge Miguel Jurado has authorized Ecuador’s attorney general’s office to use “any and all useful information” provided by the U.S. justice department in its prosecution of the Odebrecht corruption scandal. The court ruling is necessary when legal evidence comes from a foreign government.
According to Attorney General Carlos Baca, the information handed over last week by the U.S. may be critical in determining the guilt or innocence of several suspects. The U.S. justice department was the authority that broke the Odebrecht scandal in December 2016, announcing that Odebrecht paid as much as $300 million in bribes to government officials and private contractors in South America and Africa.
The justice department determined that $35.5 million in bribes were paid in Ecuador.
“This ruling gives my prosecutors the authority to begin examining the evidence we received from Washington, D.C.” Baca said Sunday. “We received a large amount of data which will help us pursue the case and hopefully bring it to a rapid conslusion.”
Baca said the information includes extensive computer files from Odebrecht headquarters in Brazil. He said he would share relevant information with the public once it is examined by prosecutors.
The evidence from the U.S. is the third major development in the case within two weeks. Last Saturday, a former associate of Ricardo Rivera, Vice President Jorge Glas’ uncle, identified only as Alfredo A., turned over documents and computer files to prosecutors. A week earlier, former energy minister Carlos Pareja, who is serving a prison term in Quito, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.