Ros-Lehtinen Reacts to DOJ Withholding Names of Ecuadorian Officials Involved in Odebrecht Corruption Scandal

Mar 9, 2017

Ros-Lehtinen Reacts to DOJ Withholding Names of Ecuadorian Officials Involved in Odebrecht Corruption Scandal

“As long as these Ecuadorian officials are allowed to continue avoiding justice, corruption in Ecuador will persist, U.S. national security and commerce will suffer, and the Ecuadorian people will not enjoy their basic human rights.”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement in response to the Department of Justice’s reply to her January 6 letter, withholding the names of the Ecuadorian officials referenced in the plea agreement entered into by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in connection with its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in Ecuador.

“In DOJ’s response to my letter, it agreed that FCPA ‘violations threaten our national security, the international free market, and the basic human rights of the many individuals affected by the corruption.’ However, DOJ stated that ‘it is generally against Department policy to discuss ongoing investigations or to name publicly unindicted co-conspirators’ and thereby would continue to withhold the names of the Ecuadorian officials involved in the scheme. DOJ said that it takes ‘very seriously allegations of FCPA violations,’ ‘routinely work[s] with foreign governments to bring the responsible wrongdoers to justice,’ and ‘in the Odebrecht case, the Department of Justice secured a guilty plea and the largest ever fine in a foreign bribery case as part of a coordinated resolution with authorities in Brazil and Switzerland.’

“Without the disclosure of the names of the Ecuadorian officials involved, ‘the responsible wrongdoers’ will not be brought to justice under the Correa regime. The regime’s corruption and lack of an independent judiciary are well documented and it cannot be relied on to investigate itself. As long as these Ecuadorian officials are allowed to continue avoiding justice, corruption in Ecuador will persist, U.S. national security and commerce will suffer, and the Ecuadorian people will not enjoy their basic human rights.”

NOTE: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s January 6 letter to the Department of Justice can be viewed here.

BACKGROUND: Outside of Brazil and Ecuador, other officials referenced in the plea agreement are from Angola, Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.