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Budget trippled for Brazil corruption probe
RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazilian Attorney-General’s Office has tripled its 2018 budget for a probe of a sprawling corruption scandal that has engulfed political and business leaders across Latin America.
Federal prosecutors decided this week to boost spending on the so-called Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) investigation from US$165 million initially allotted in January to more than US$500 million. The probe could get an additional US$165 million later this year, though that is not certain.
High-profile targets of the investigation include former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha and business mogul Marcelo Odebrecht, with allegations levelled at President Michel Temer and former Peru president Ollanta Humala too.

Colombian officials got US$27m in Odebrecht bribes, prosecutor says
BOGOTÁ — Colombian officials received US$27 million in bribes from Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht , more than double previously thought, as the company sought to win a road-building contract, Colombia’s Attorney General said this week.
As fallout from a massive corruption scandal continues to bite Odebrecht, Attorney General Néstor Humberto Martínez said bribes paid for the contract to build a 528-kilometre highway were much more than the US$11 million originally estimated.
Martínez said criminal charges for money-laundering would be filed against two Brazilian citizens, one Portuguese and three Colombians. He will also ask the Supreme Court of Justice to investigate five congressional lawmakers.
Seven people, including a former senator and a former deputy  minister of transport, have been jailed for involvement in the corruption scandal.
Odebrecht’s bribes in Colombia spilled over into the election campaigns of President Juan Manuel Santos, who in March acknowledged that his 2010 election campaign received illegal payments. He said he had no knowledge at the time of the payments.
Odebrecht allegedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with infrastructure projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, between 2002 and 2016.

— Herald with AP, Reuters
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