Matt Sandy – Time, 03/24/2016
Two multibillion dollar projects linked to the troubled Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been drawn into Brazil’s ever-growing corruption scandal. Police and prosecutors are investigating if the Brazilian building giant Odebrecht paid bribes to secure work on a new subway line, which will connect the city’s beach zone to a station close to the Olympic Park, and the on redevelopment of the city’s port area.
Rio’s Olympic regeneration, which has included billions in building contracts, had so far largely avoided the controversy of the Operation Car Wash investigation. The criminal probe, the biggest in Brazil’s history, centers on a cartel of construction companies who allegedly paid large bribes to officials and politicians for overpriced public contracts, such as with state oil giant Petrobras.
The scandal has rocked Brazil, with President Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment amid public anger that has seen as many as 3 million people protest on the streets. Her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has been investigated as part of the probe, in which prosecutors estimate nearly $3 billion was paid in bribes. With political and economic gridlock, Brazil is also facing its worst recession since 1901.