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Probe demanded into alleged Dominican election campaign financing by Odebrecht

By on May 19, 2017

SAN JUAN – Various civil society organizations of the Dominican Republic filed a formal request with the island’s attorney general to investigate whether the country received international funds from Brazil-based infrastructure company Odebrecht to finance the island’s 2012 election campaign.

The organizations that filed the complaint are Centro Juan XXIII, Participación Ciudadana, Fundación MASADA Inc. and Santiago Somos Todos.

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According to the aforementioned organizations, the question authorities should clarify is whether the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) received funds from the engineering conglomerate through Polis Caribe and CINE & ART2013, companies belonging to Brazilian publicist Joao Santana, as stated by several senior Odebrecht officials during court hearings. If their statements are confirmed, the Constitution of the Dominican Republic, as well as the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, the Dominican Penal Code, Electoral Law and money laundering laws would have been violated.

“The link with the Dominican Liberation Party is made by virtue of the fact that they [their leaders] declared that Joao Cerqueira de Santana Filho was their campaign adviser; and financial statements presented to the Central Elections Board don’t evince a connection with Joao Cerqueira de Santana Filho or any of his companies,” the groups allege. “If the aforementioned [is] confirmed, the country is facing an attack on its national sovereignty by a foreign company’s interference in Dominican Republic’s political issues.”

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The civil organizations point out that the short financial statements presented by the PLD to the elections board “do not show payments made to Joao Santana or any of his companies.” They point out that election law is “clear and repetitive” regarding the illicit use of foreign funds in local political campaigns, as well as in parties’ obligation to reveal all revenue and expenses.

The document filed describes in detail the corporate framework and complex maneuvers allegedly used by Odebrecht, according to international investigations. It also traces funds that were apparently routed via Swiss and Peruvian banks to the Dominican Republic.

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The organizations believe a conflict of interest exists given Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez is a member of the PLD and participated in the campaign of then-presidential candidate Danilo Medina Sánchez.

The complainants expect their action will be effective in the clarification of the statements by senior Odebrecht executives and be another step in their efforts to “end the era of impunity in the Dominican Republic.”

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