SANTO DOMINGO, June 7 A judge in the Dominican
Republic ordered several suspects awaiting trial in a bribery
scandal engulfing Brazilian company Odebrecht to be sent to
prison on Wednesday until their case is heard.
Prosecutors allege Angel Rondon, a lobbyist for Odebrecht,
oversaw payment of $92 million in bribes among government
officials, lawmakers and others to secure major public works
contracts for the Brazilian firm. He denies the charges.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic arrested nearly a
dozen people last week over the case. The accused face a variety
of charges, including taking bribes, conspiracy to commit a
felony, and money laundering.
Among those facing prosecution in the case are Victor Diaz
Rua, a former public works minister, and trade minister
Temistocles Montas, as well several national politicians.
Montas denies wrongdoing. Attorneys for Diaz, who has been
accused of taking bribes and other crimes, did not comment when
questioned upon leaving the courtroom on Wednesday.
Judge Francisco Ortega ruled Rondon should spend one year in
prison, and ordered other defendants to be incarcerated for
between six and nine months. Others were put under house arrest
or released on bail, barred from leaving the country.
The trial is due to begin in eight months.
Prosecutors across Latin America have been making arrests
after Odebrecht and its petrochemical subsidiary Braskem
admitted late last year to bribing officials around the region.
(Reporting by Jorge Pineda; Editing by Paul Tait)