Colombian financial services institution, Corficolombiana, recently reached a significant resolution to bribery investigations in both the United States and Colombia. The company has agreed to pay a substantial amount of over $80 million in order to settle the charges. This investigation arose from Corficolombiana’s involvement in a scheme to pay bribes to high-ranking government officials in Colombia. The company conspired with Brazilian construction conglomerate, Odebrecht S.A., to secure a lucrative highway toll road contract by illicit means. As a result, Corficolombiana will be paying a hefty criminal penalty, as well as disgorgement and prejudgment interest. The resolution represents a landmark effort between Colombian and U.S. authorities in combating foreign bribery, and sends a strong message regarding the consequences of engaging in corrupt practices. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s International Corruption Squad in Miami, and Corficolombiana has committed to cooperate fully while also strengthening its compliance program.
Colombian Financial Services Institution Resolves Bribery Investigations with $80 Million Payment
Colombian financial services institution, Corficolombiana, has recently come to a settlement in its bribery investigations, agreeing to pay over $80 million to both the United States and Colombian authorities. The investigations stem from the company’s involvement in a corruption scheme that included the payment of bribes to high-ranking government officials in Colombia. This resolution marks a significant milestone in the fight against corruption, as it is the first-ever coordinated resolution with Colombian authorities in a foreign bribery case.
Corruption Scheme Involving High-ranking Government Officials
The investigation into Corficolombiana’s bribery activities reveals a large-scale corruption scheme involving high-ranking government officials in Colombia. The scheme was centered around the company’s conspiracy with Odebrecht S.A., a Brazilian construction conglomerate, to secure a lucrative highway toll road contract. In order to secure the contract, Corficolombiana and Odebrecht engaged in the illicit practice of paying bribes to Colombian government officials.
Deferred Prosecution Agreement with U.S. Department of Justice
To address the allegations against it, Corficolombiana entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. As part of the agreement, the company filed a criminal information in the District of Maryland. This agreement allows for the resolution of the criminal charges against Corficolombiana without a formal conviction, provided that the company meets certain requirements and continues to cooperate with the ongoing investigations.
Conspiracy with Odebrecht to Secure Highway Toll Road Contract
Corficolombiana’s collaboration with Odebrecht was a key aspect of the corruption scheme. Together, the two companies conspired to secure a highway toll road contract by engaging in corrupt practices. These practices included the payment of substantial bribes to Colombian government officials, who held the power to award the contract. This partnership between Corficolombiana and Odebrecht exemplifies the level of corruption that existed within the highest echelons of power in Colombia.
Use of Fictitious Contracts to Facilitate Bribe Payments
To facilitate the payment of bribes, Corficolombiana resorted to the use of fictitious contracts. The company created these contracts to provide a cover for the illegal transactions, making it appear as if legitimate business activities were taking place. Intermediaries were often involved in these transactions, further complicating the paper trail and making it difficult for authorities to trace the illicit payments back to their source.
Profits Generated from Corrupt Business
Corficolombiana was not only involved in corrupt activities but also benefited financially from them. The company earned approximately $28.63 million in profits from the business that was obtained through corrupt means. These profits were a direct result of the bribery scheme and the favorable treatment that Corficolombiana received as a result of its illicit activities. This highlights the financial incentive that drives corruption and the importance of holding companies accountable for their actions.
First-ever Coordinated Resolution with Colombian Authorities
The coordinated resolution between Corficolombiana and Colombian authorities is a groundbreaking development in the fight against corruption. This marks the first time that Colombian authorities have coordinated efforts with foreign counterparts to resolve a bribery case. The collaboration between the United States and Colombia demonstrates a shared commitment to combatting corruption and sends a strong message that no company is above the law.
Criminal Penalty and Disgorgement Amount
As part of the resolution, Corficolombiana has agreed to pay significant penalties. The company will pay a criminal penalty of $40.6 million, reflecting the seriousness of its offenses and the harm caused by its corrupt actions. Additionally, Corficolombiana will pay over $40 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. These financial penalties serve as a deterrent to other companies considering engaging in similar corrupt practices.
Continued Cooperation and Compliance Program Enhancement
Corficolombiana has committed to continuing its cooperation with ongoing or future criminal investigations. By taking this step, the company demonstrates its commitment to fully uncovering the extent of its corrupt activities and assisting authorities in their pursuit of justice. Furthermore, Corficolombiana will enhance its compliance program to prevent similar misconduct from occurring in the future. This commitment to compliance serves as an important safeguard against future corrupt practices within the institution.
Investigation by FBI’s International Corruption Squad in Miami
The investigation into Corficolombiana’s bribery case is being conducted by the FBI’s International Corruption Squad based in Miami. The involvement of this specialized unit highlights the severity and international scope of the corruption scheme. The FBI’s expertise in investigating and dismantling corruption networks positions them to effectively uncover the details of the case and hold those involved accountable. The location of the investigation in Miami demonstrates the international reach of the U.S. government in combating corruption.
In conclusion, the resolution of Corficolombiana’s bribery investigations represents a significant step forward in the fight against corruption. The coordinated efforts between Colombian and U.S. authorities highlight the commitment to combatting corruption and the determination to hold companies accountable for their actions. By imposing significant penalties and committing to ongoing cooperation and compliance enhancements, Corficolombiana has taken responsibility for its misconduct and signaled a desire for change. This case serves as a reminder that corruption will not be tolerated, and those who engage in such practices will face consequences.