Skanska embroiled in a major corruption scandal

3:15 min

The Swedish construction company Skanska has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal in Brazil. According to the Swedish Radio Skanska's Brazilian partner is suspected of having paid out 2 million reals in bribes in order to get a contract for a gas pipeline in the Amazon, a project that the two companies built on behalf of the state oil company Petrobras. Skanska  is now preparing to leave the entire continent.

– This environment in South America with a lot of corruption, is of course very difficult to work in, says Johan Henriksson, president of Skanska Latin America. He adds that the company has now decided to leave the Latin America all together.  

Representatives of at least two of Skanska's Brazilian partners admit in the police interrogations that they have paid bribes to Petrobras, in order to get multimillion contracts in the building sector in Brazil, including refineries and pipelines.

One case concerns a gas pipeline in the Amazon that Skanska built together with the Brazilian construction company Camargo Corrêa. A representative of Camargo Corrêa who has been questioned by the police has admitted that he paid 2 million reals in bribes to get the contract for the gas pipeline, worth 170 million Euros when it was signed in 2006. The president of Skanska Latin America Johan Henriksson says that Skanska is now investigating if any bribes has been paid on behalf of Skanska.

Question: Has Skanska paid bribes in any of its projects in Brazil in recent years?

Answer: I do not know. We are checking this now internally.

Question: Regarding this pipeline up to Manaus. There are allegations from your partner in the project that bribes were paid?

Answer: Yes it is as you say, it is a statement from a director who comes from our partner. We have not seen any proof of this.  But of course we are looking into this issue very carefully to ensure that this is not the case.

Q: But why would he lie about his own bribes?

Answer: Ehh, I do not know. The person in question is from my understanding  arrested and is under interrogation, and what he says and not, and the credibility of what he said during these interrogations is not clear to me.

In recent days the Brazilian police has arrested around 20 managers from major construction companies. Several of the detainees have been interrogated and admitted that they had paid bribes to managers at the oil company Petrobras. The bribes have been paid through decoy companies with bank accounts in Switzerland and Uruguay. Normally the bribes have been paid at a value of 2-3% of the contract’s value.

Representatives of Skanska's in Brazil are mentioned by name in the police interrogations, and Skanska is singled out as one of the members of a cartel of construction companies formed in order to manage both the payment of bribes and the negotiations of contracts with Petrobras.

Ildo Sauer is a former senior manager at Petrobras. He was the one who ordered the pipeline in the Amazon. He claims that he is not involved in the bribery case, but tells Swedish Radio that a Swedish company like Skanska should lead by example, not contribute to the corruption that since long is a problem in Brazil.

Police interrogations with Augusto Ribeiro de Mendoca Neto från Toyo Setal och med Julio Camargo representant för byggföretaget Camargo Correa.