Brazilian contracts are totally by the book, says a Brookfield spokesperson.

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TORONTO-Bribery charges leveled at locally based Brookfield Asset Management and focused on the firm’s Brazilian operations are being denied by the firm.

Brookfield, with some 8,000 employees in that country, owns and operates eight shopping malls there as well as a property management company to manage them. It has a total of $13 billion in Brazilian investments.

The charges came to light Wednesday in reports that appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other national newspapers. The suit, filed in a Sao Paulo civil court, revolves around alleged bribes to win construction contracts, according to the Journal.

In a statement requested by, a spokesperson for the firm had this to say: “In recent months, there have been allegations made against the property management company and certain of its officers of paying bribes to Sao Paulo city officials to obtain permits for renovations to shopping malls. These allegations are strongly denied by the individuals accused of wrongdoing.

“These allegations were made by a former employee of the property management company who was terminated in 2010, with cause, and is the defendant in a lawsuit for embezzlement filed by Brookfield,” the statement continues. “The former employee is also the subject of an investigation by Sao Paulo police and Brazilian prosecutors.

“Brookfield takes the allegations that have been made very seriously and is co-operating fully with Brazilian authorities,” the spokesperson reports. “Brookfield is also conducting an internal review of these matters, with assistance from outside legal counsel. The investigation is ongoing, but based on the findings to date, Brookfield has found no evidence of wrongdoing by its employees.

“It is our policy that all of Brookfield’s activities are conducted to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements as outlined in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.”