Corruption sent price tag of Brazil's World Cup stadiums soaring: Reports

Indo Asian News Service

Rio de Janeiro, April 15 (IANS) Half of the 12 stadiums built or renovated with taxpayers' money to host the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil saw funds being pocketed by government officials and construction company executives, local media reported.

In the case of at least four of those stadiums, there is testimony from some involved in the scheme that reveals construction firms and officials conspired to inflate the price of the project in order to split the profits, news network Globo said on its website on Friday.

The stadium projects under review include the landmark Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Mane Garrincha in Brasilia, Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Arena da Amazonia in Manaus and Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to government figures, Rio's Maracana ended up costing some 75 per cent more to renovate than originally planned, requiring $383 million, despite having been remodelled in 2007 for the Pan American Games.

The costliest stadium was Brasilia's, which was projected to entail $238 million, but consumed $447 million of taxpayers' money -- 87.8 per cent more.

The revelations were made by some 77 former executives of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which is under investigation as part of Operation Car Wash, a wide-ranging probe into graft in government.

The supreme court's special rapporteur for the investigation, Judge Edson Fachin, this week authorised officials to publish all of the videotaped testimony.