Peru nearing plea deal with Odebrecht on corruption probe -prosecutor

LIMA, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian construction company Odebrecht is close to reaching a final settlement with Peruvian prosecutors over their investigation into bribes paid by Odebrecht for public works contracts in Peru, a prosecutor said on Monday.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying about $30 million in bribes to win contracts in the South American country and has agreed to provide prosecutors with details on the payments, culminating in a formal plea deal intended to reduce its exposure to legal risks.

"It is true we are near to closing everything," Rafael Vela, one of the prosecutors investigating Odebrecht, told Reuters. He declined to offer details on what the agreement would include.

Brazilian newspaper Valor reported late Sunday that Odebrecht would sign a definitive agreement this week with Peruvian authorities investigating the company.

Representatives of the Peruvian attorney's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Odebrecht office in Lima told Reuters that the company was in full talks to reach an agreement, but declined to provide further details.

"Odebrecht Peru maintains its commitment to collaborate with the justice administration and to the confidentiality of the case, so it is unable to make any comment on the matter," it said to Reuters in an email.

Odebrecht has been at the center of a massive graft scandal that has rippled across Latin America. In 2016, it acknowledged in a leniency deal that it had bribed officials in a dozen countries to secure public works contracts, dating back over a decade. It agreed to pay a record $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland.

After Brazil, Peru is the country where the Odebrecht scandal has been most disruptive. Peru's four most recent presidents are under investigation in connection with alleged bribes paid by Odebrecht.

The investigation hit a snag in July, when the Brazilian builder raised complaints about the probe in Peru to authorities in Brazil. Sources at the time said it wanted legal protections because it felt it was being treated as a suspect and not a willing informant. (Reporting By Marco Aquino. Writing by Cassandra Garrison, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)