The Americas

Corrupt firm paid part of Colombia president's campaign

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos wipes his face as he listens to Vice President German Vargas Lleras present an annual report in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, March, 14, 2017.  Earlier in a video message, Santos apologized to Colombians Tuesday after revelations that a scandal-tarred Brazilian construction company illegally paid costs related to his 2010 campaign. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos wipes his face as he listens to Vice President German Vargas Lleras present an annual report in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, March, 14, 2017. Earlier in a video message, Santos apologized to Colombians Tuesday after revelations that a scandal-tarred Brazilian construction company illegally paid costs related to his 2010 campaign. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)  (The Associated Press)

The former campaign manager for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is acknowledging for the first time that a scandal-tarred Brazilian construction company illegally paid costs related to the Nobel Peace Prize winner's 2010 campaign.

Roberto Prieto told Blu Radio on Tuesday that Odebrecht had paid $400,000 to a vendor to print 2 million campaign posters. But he denied that Santos had any knowledge of the irregular payment.

Presidential campaign contributions by companies other than banks are illegal in Colombia.

Allegations of the Odebrecht contribution have been especially damaging because the company admitted in a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to paying $800 million in bribes across Latin America.

Santos has yet to comment but Prieto said the president's office is likely to issue a statement later Tuesday.