José Manuel Guzmán Ibarra (left) and Gregorio Salcedo Llibre (right).

Bribery Division

Two Dominican Republic Officials Resign in Wake of Bribery Division Revelations

The president of the Dominican Republic stock exchange has resigned following revelations that companies linked to him received millions of dollars from a division of the disgraced Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht used primarily to pay bribes.

Gregorio Salcedo Llibre stepped down after International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ member Alicia Ortega uncovered separate Odebrecht payments totaling $2.4 million to the two companies, Value Added Finance and Optimum Advisors Corp.

The Bribery Division, an investigation led by ICIJ that identified hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden payments by Odebrecht linked to public works across Latin America, also claimed an administrator at the Dominican state bank BanReserva, José Manuel Guzmán Ibarra.

Based on a leak of more than 13,000 documents obtained by the Ecuadorian news organization La Posta and shared with ICIJ, the investigation involved more than 50 journalists in Latin America and the USA.

The documents had been stored by Odebrecht’s infamous Division of Structured Operations on a secret communications platform known as Drousys.

Ortega reported this week that Value Added Finance, a company owned by Salcedo Llibre, received a payment of $500,000 in 2014 associated with the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant, a massive infrastructure project carried out by Odebrecht. Salcedo was part of an economic advisory team assembled by the Dominican state utility that advised the committee that awarded the Punta Catalina contract to Odebrecht.”

The payment was included in a spreadsheet that documented more than 600 payments by the Structured Operations unit made between December 2013 and December 2014. Salcedo Llibre told Ortega’s outlet, Noticias SIN, that the payment was made for financial services he provided that were unrelated to the Punta Catalina project.

Ortega revealed Odebrecht made other payments totaling $1.9 million to Optimum Advisors connected both to the power plant and a highway project. According to the Public Registry of Panama, Salcedo has been the president of Optimum Advisors since 2014.

Today, Salcedo Llibre resigned from his position as chairman of the Dominican stock exchange, according to Noticias SIN.

The resignation comes days after that of Guzmán Ibarra, who Ortega also identified as a recipient of Odebrecht’s hidden payments.

Guzmán Ibarra’s company Grupo Sophus Lanx received a payment of $100,000, also associated with the Punta Catalina project. The payment appeared in the same spreadsheet from the Structured Operations unit that tracked the unit’s payment from December 2013 to December 2014.

Guzmán Ibarra told Noticias SIN that Odebrecht had paid him for advisory services. He announced his resignation from BanReservas effective July 1.

Reactions to the Bribery Division are also unfolding in Peru.

Last week, Peruvian prosecutors announced they would interrogate key Odebrecht executives again, following the revelations by ICIJ’s team, according to ICIJ’s partners at Convoca.

These interviews had been planned for late July, but after the Bribery Division’s publication, prosecutors were considering moving up the interrogation to ask the executives about new codenames of Odebrecht bribe recipients revealed in the investigation, Convoca reported.

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