Authorities still refuse to disclose information about Odebrecht investigation

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Despite affirmations from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that he would pursue policies against corruption and hold people accountable for abuses of power to justice, the Office of the Attorney General continues to refuse to disclose data about the country’s ongoing Odebrecht investigation.

The refusals, originally made under the presidency of Enrique Pena Nieto, continue despite the change in governments and new officials in charge of the investigation.

The case relates to ongoing investigations across a number of countries into bribery that has seeped into countless Latin American governments. It has led to the impeachments of presidents and pulled governments into disarray over high-profile bribery in countries such as Peru and Colombia. According to the New York Times, the Brazilian company even bought a bank branch in an attempt to conceal transactions. As a result of the extensive bribery, Odebrecht was able to build wide-scale, government-funded constructions such as motorways, dams, bridges and even power plants.

During 2018, Mexican officials had allegedly gathered enough evidence to charge a number of prominent officials over the Odebrecht bribery scandal, however, so far, the country has chosen not to do so. According to reports from June last year, there were two ongoing federal investigations into bribery in Mexico, yet sources suggested that the people involved were not named due to risks it would damage the upcoming election. Now, well into the successor’s presidency, the investigations have remained silent.

Although little progress has been made in relation to the international case, it does however appear to tick by, with many media companies pushing for further information about Mexican updates.

For instance, a filing submitted in December 2018 was escalated to the ranks of the Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales (INAI) who reviewed the appeal and decided that revealing the names is in the interest of Mexico’s larger society.

In response, the Attorney General’s Office even produced a lengthy document which was released to justify why the details weren’t going to be released.

However the INAI’s commissioning president, Francisco Javier Acuna Llamas, also spoke out about the disgraceful amount of impunity that currently dogs the Odebrecht investigation in Mexico, whilst also pointing out that the group is not responsible for punishing such corruptions.

At the end of January 2019, explosive details were revealed when Odebrecht accused Mexico of harbouring a ‘network of corruption’ of which the Brazilian company had been a victim. Making the claim in front of the National Human Rights Commission, 12 officials of Pena Nieto’s government were implicated, whilst also confirming that the Attorney General’s Office had staged a cover-up.

Even more recently, reports revealed that Odebrecht had, in fact, sued national petroleum producer, Pemex, over the cancellation of constructions within Mexico.

Calls for more transparency in high profile cases such as Odebrecht run alongside recent statements made by AMLO which appear to reaffirm a serious and effective investigation. ” We are not anyone’s cover…and we are in favour of transparency …the only thing that has to be taken care of is not giving a reason why the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic gives information, this serves those involved as proof that the due process is not being followed,” said the president according to Animal Politico.

Investigations into corruption throughout the government have proved somewhat effective in recent months, with at least 13 state-run companies being implicated in the huachicolero trade. As the grip around government actions tighten, however, the Odebrecht investigation inches forward.

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