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Tractebel in Peru : Corruption Case

In June 2002, at least one person died and more than 140 were injured in riots that broke out following the privatisation of Peru's state owned power generators Egasa and Egesur to Belgium's Tractebel for $167.4 million.

Protestors accuse Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who pledged not to privatize the power sector during his electoral campaign, of a breach of faith.

Earlier the same month the local newspaper, La Republica, reported that the Belgian multinational, Tractebel, a subsidiary of the French firm Suez-Lyonnaises des Eaux, was under investigation on corruption charges, although a Tractebel spokesperson said that the charges were "baseless" and denied that an investigation was underway.

According to another report in AFP, Peru's top anti-corruption prosecutor, Luis Vargas Valdivia, is said to have requested from the Belgian government testimony from an engineer who may have witnessed Tractebel bribe former president Fujimori between 1996 and 1998.

Tractebel was the only bidder, offering a total of 167.4 million dollars for the two utilities.

The Peruvian government is currently seeking $800 million to counter a growing fiscal deficit and to pay for urgently needed large-scale infrastructure projects. Tractebel's acquisition of Egasa and Egesur, along with other privatizations and concessions have helped the government raise $560 million, leaving it only $240 million short of its goal.

Opponents of the privatization process have called for a referendum to revoke the recent deal with Tractebel, but in declarations to the daily El Comercio, leading government representatives have dismissed such a possibility.

Tractebel already runs a major Peruvian power plant, the 360-megawatt EnerSur plant.

This is not the first time Tractebel has been under investigation or corruption. In December 1999, Belgian and Swiss authorities were looking into a payment of $50- million (all figures in U.S. dollars) allegedly made by Tractebel to three businessmen in Kazakhstan as a fee to secure a gas pipeline concession.


UNICORN is a Global Unions Anti-corruption Network. It is supported by the international trade union bodies: the TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD); Public Services International (PSI); and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

UNICORN is financed by the Foundation Open Society Institute