The former campaign manager for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is acknowledging for the first time that a scandal-tarred Brazilian construction company illegally paid costs related to the Nobel Peace Prize winner's 2010 campaign. Roberto Prieto told Blu Radio today that Odebrecht had paid USD 400,000 to a vendor to print 2 million campaign posters.
But he denied that Santos had any knowledge of the irregular payment. Presidential campaign contributions by companies other than banks are illegal in Colombia. Allegations of the Odebrecht contribution have been especially damaging because the company admitted in a plea agreement with the US Justice Department to paying USD 800 million in bribes across Latin America. Santos has yet to comment but Prieto said the president's office is likely to issue a statement later today.
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