Odebrecht, Grupo Aval win partial settelment for Ruta del Sol 2

Odebrecht, Grupo Aval win partial settelment for Ruta del Sol 2

Economy & Policy Project & Infrastructure Finance Regulation Colombia Brazil

A Colombian arbitration court has annulled the contract for the Ruta del Sol 2 toll road concession and ordered the government to pay COP211bn ($61.6m) for the works completed.

The national infrastructure agency ANI has to pay COP24.2bn to "third parties of good faith," while COP187bn has to come from a trust fund for Ruta del Sol 2 managed by the local financial services firm Corficolombia, the court said in its ruling.

Brazil's Odebrecht and its local partners Episol and CSS Constructores signed the 20-year contract in November 2014, but ANI asked the arbitration court to cancel the concession in January 2017, saying Odebrecht bribed government officials to win the project.

Odebrecht admitted in December 2016 to paying $11m in bribes in Colombia from 2009 to 2014, but it sued the government in 2018 for illegally confiscating assets during the investigations.

According to press reports, Odebrecht and its partners had sought up to COP3.8tn in compensation from the government.

In January, ANI authorized COP627bn in payments for the banks that financed the toll road — Bancolombia, Davivienda, Itaú CorpBanca, Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Occidente, Banco Popular and Banco AV Villas. The government said last month that it could pay the lenders another COP1.2tn if they relinquished any interest payments, but the banks declined the offer.

Grupo Aval owns four of the seven banks that provided the 10-year loan for Ruta del Sol 2. It also holds Corficolombiana, which owns Episol.

The arbitration court said it will reconvene on August 16 to answer questions from the parties involved.

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