BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A corruption scandal that has spread across Latin America is inching closer to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos amid new evidence that suggests a Brazilian construction company paid $1 million for an opinion poll carried out during his re-election campaign.
Chief Prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez said Monday that Odebrecht made the payment to a Panamanian-registered company linked to a local advertising agency hired by Santos' 2014 campaign. He said Odebrecht's goal was to curry favor with the Santos government to help it win a $100 million arbitration involving disputes over a highway project.
Neither Santos nor the advertising agency Sancho BBDO would comment.
Colombia's electoral rules ban foreign companies from making campaign contributions.
Odebrecht has admitted to paying some $800 million to officials to win business in 12 nations.