Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega published on her blog a video last week that showed an executive of the scandal-hit Brazilian firm Odebrecht claiming he had paid a huge bribe to the nation’s president.
Euzenando Prazeres de Azevedo was filmed speaking with Brazilian prosecutors in December 2016. He appears to confess that Nicolas Maduro’s middleman solicited a large contribution from Brazilian business to his 2013 presidential campaign.
“He asked for US$50 million, but I agreed to pay US$35 million,” the executive said in a testimony. Azevedo added he had received assurances that Maduro would prioritize Odebrecht projects if he were to win the Venezuelan presidency.
The recording was said to have been made by Brazilian prosecutors last December.
The president’s office made no immediate comment Thursday about the accusation, and state television did not mention it.
Vladimir Aras, a senior Brazilian prosecutor who until recently led the attorney general’s international cooperation office, said that the recording was authentic. According to Mr. Aras, it was among the pieces of evidence that the Brazilian authorities shared with Ms. Ortega earlier this year after they grew convinced that she was intent on holding people suspected of being complicit in the bribes in Venezuela accountable.
The investigation into Odebrecht, a construction giant, has become the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America. The company is accused of paying millions in bribes to politicians across the region to secure lucrative contracts. Marcelo Odebrecht, former head of the Odebrecht giant was sentenced to over 19 years in prison for corruption.