A Brazilian construction company that paid nearly $50 million in kickbacks has been banned from participating in Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded projects for more than two years.
As part of a negotiated settlement, Andrade Gutierrez Engenharia S.A. must also report on its compliance program or risk having the ban significantly extended.
The IDB has debarred Andrade Gutierrez from participating in IDB projects for two years and six months, after the company admitted to paying the kickbacks to public officials to gain an advantage in the bidding process for IDB Group-backed projects. The company received seven months credit for “a period of voluntary restraint,” according to an IDB press release.
Andrade Gutierrez fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by IBD’s Office of Institutional Integrity. From 2009-12, the company paid kickbacks to public officials to obtain three IDB Group-funded contracts in Brazil. IDB estimates the company’s corrupt payments on the three contracts, paid as a percentage of the total contract amounts, were potentially has high as $47 million. Andrade Gutierrez also paid bribes potentially worth $1.9 million on another IDB contract in 2011-12. Eleven subsidiaries of Andrade Gutierrez are subject to the same debarment period, the IDB said.
“This substantial cooperation is reflected in a significantly reduced sanction,” the IDB said.
The settlement also requires Andrade Gutierrez to report on its compliance program through an existing independent monitor, the IDB said. Those reports include internal investigations “intended to uncover systemic integrity risks to IDB Group-financed activities,” the IDB said. Andrade Gutierrez faces continued sanctions for up to nine years if the company fails to fulfill those obligations.
The debarments issued by IDB qualify for cross-debarments with other development banks, the IDB said.
In 2018, Andrade Gutierrez reached a settlement on these allegations with Brazilian authorities, paying more than $381 million in fines. More than 30 other companies were also ensnared in the so-called “Car Wash” graft investigation.
Andrade Gutierrez is one of Brazil’s largest construction companies, with a portfolio that includes “industrial projects and infrastructure works in urban mobility, energy, and oil and gas,” according to the company’s Website.
In a statement, Andrade Gutierrez said the company “recognizes its past involvement in illegal activities in projects financed by the IDB in Brazil,” but that its cooperation with the investigation led to a significant reduction of the sanctions.
“Andrade Gutierrez Engenharia S.A. reinforces its commitment to an ethical, fair and transparent business environment,” the statement said.