Brazilian builder admits to FIFA World Cup bribes

Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian construction firm Andrade Gutierrez has admitted it paid bribes to secure contracts for last year’s FIFA World Cup.

According to Xinhua, local media reports said on Friday that the Rio de Janeiro-based company will pay a fine of one billion reais ($270 million) as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Andrade Gutierrez CEO Otavio Marques de Azevedo is said to have made the admission to federal police during their Lava Jato corruption probe. Azevedo is also understood to have confessed to the company’s participation in a graft scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras and national electric utility Eletrobras.

Andrade Gutierrez was contracted to build the Amazonia Arena in Manaus and carried out refurbishment work at Rio’s Maracana stadium, Porto Alegre’s Beira-Rio stadium and Brasilia’s Mane Garrincha stadium.

According to accounting group Contas Abertas, the total cost of the projects rose to 3.4 billion reais from an original estimate of 2.5 billion reais. Andrade Gutierrez did not comment on Friday.

Scores of Brazilian politicians and company executives have been jailed since the Lava Jato investigation began in March last year.

Prosecutors say the corruption took place among members of a cartel that skimmed billions of dollars from engineering contracts — mainly involving Petrobras – between 2006 and 2014.

The scandal has tipped Brazil into its worst recession in decades and led to calls for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, whose approval rating has fallen to single digits.