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Panama officials head to US to probe Odebrecht case

Odebrecht agreed in December to pay a record $3.5 billion fine after admitting to paying $788 million in bribes across 12 countries to secure juicy public contracts

Panamanian prosecutors headed to the United States on Tuesday seeking information on the alleged payment of bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to officials of the Central American country.

The Panama attorney general's office said investigators are looking to "obtain details of alleged acts of bribery and use of financial institutions in Panama."

The US Justice Department recently reported that Odebrecht had paid bribes worth hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain contracts in nine Latin American countries.

It said the construction company paid more than $59 million in bribes to Panama between 2010 and 2014 to obtain contracts valued at $175 million.

Two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli have denied Brazilian newspaper reports that they had received $6 million intended as a bribe for their father from Odebrecht.

The brothers, Ricardo Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, said they reserved the right to take legal action against those responsible for the alleged media campaign against them, adding that they could not allow their honor "to be tarnished by special interests."

Martinelli lives in voluntary exile in Miami. The Panamanian government has requested his extradition on allegations of espionage and corruption.