Thursday, June 07, 2007

Skanska and Techint Investigated in Bribery Skandal

Argentina's Techint and the Swedish transnational, Skanska, which worked together on the Camisea pipeline and Malvinas plant, are in the center of a money laundering and bribery scandal.

As reported in the Economist, Techint controls another gas pipeline in Argentina, called Transportadora de Gas del Norte (TGN), which the government paid with a trust fund to expand a pipeline carrying gas from Bolivia. Techint awarded contracts to Skanska which was later found to have evaded taxes by obtaining $400,000 in receipts from a shadow company with no employees, called Infinity. An internal Skaska investigation found that the company had paid $4 million to 23 different companies services never rendered. Seven of Skanska's managers in Argentina have been arrested. One politician estimates that $25 m of the $285 m price tag for the pipeline was improperly spent. The investigation into the laundering is looking into the involvement of Argentina's planning minister and has caused a scandal within President's Kirchner's government.

Recordings of conversations between the internal auditor and commercial manager of Skanska in Argentina suggest that the corruption scheme was used in Peru with contracts of up to $1.8 m. Skanska's recent projects in Peru include the engineering and construction of the flowlines in Block 88 and the duct system for the submarine gas terminal in Pisco.

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