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World Bank unit implicated in Latin America graft scandal

By The News · 04 of July 2019 20:38:19
AP Photo,, No available, In this June 12, 2019, photo, a man walks past an entrance to the International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank Group, in Washington. The unit of the World Bank has been dragged onto the edges of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal involving a highway connecting the Colombian capital to busy Caribbean ports. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A unit of the World Bank has been dragged into the edges of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal.

The scandal involves a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) highway across mountainous terrain connecting the Colombian capital to busy Caribbean ports.

An investment officer for the International Finance Corporation was responsible for helping to set the terms for competitive bidding. It turns out María Victoria Guarín was also married to a top executive of a company that won part of the very contract she helped to oversee.

The apparent conflict of interest was revealed in a little-noticed report issued last year by Colombia’s anti-trust agency.

The Grupo Aval conglomerate that employed Guarín’s husband was partnered with Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that has admitted to paying $6.5 million in bribes to seal the deal.