On September 16, 2020, the World Bank Group announced the two-year debarment of FCC Construcción S.A., a civil works construction company located in Spain, for engaging in fraud in connection with the bidding process for two World Bank financed contracts and for conspiring to disqualify a competitor from the bidding process for one of the same World Bank financed contracts.
According to the World Bank, the two contracts related to the Río Bogotá Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project in Colombia. The purpose of the project was to improve water quality, reduce flooding, and create “multi-functional areas” along the Rio Bogota River. The World Bank press release stated that with respect to the bidding for one contract, FCC Construcción worked with public officials to have a competitor disqualified and also “misrepresented the use of the contract’s advance payment.” In a second bid, FCC Construcción knowingly misrepresented the roles and composition of three companies in a consortium that would have executed the work under the contract. The World Bank added that FCC Construcción was not included in the consortium that ultimately won the contract.
As part of its settlement with the World Bank, FCC Construcción did not contest its culpability, agreed to continue to improve its compliance program, and paid $5.5 million in restitution to Colombian authorities. FCC Construcción also agreed to a two-year debarment from participating in World Bank financed projects. The World Bank stated that the two-year debarment was a reduced penalty, and was based on FCC Construcción’s “extraordinary cooperation” and voluntary remediation, including conducting an internal investigation, disciplining employees, and voluntarily restraining from participating in World Bank-financed projects during negotiation of the settlement. The World Bank also noted that the improper conduct had occurred under a different “shareholding structure.”