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Brazil's Petrobras graft scandal embroils 28 more politicians

20 december 2014, 18:05
0

 The main accuser in the corruption scandal that has embroiled Brazil oil giant Petrobras gave a list of 28 politicians who had taken kickbacks, including the energy minister, local press said Friday, AFP reports.

Paulo Roberto Costa -- a former Petrobras director of supplies accused of taking kickbacks worth millions of dollars and who has been collaborating with prosecutors as part of a plea deal -- gave the list to authorities, according to the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Among the politicians implicated as "alleged beneficiaries" of corruption are Energy Minister Edison Lobao, and a former minister turned Senator Gleisi Hoffmann. Also included on the list are two more former ministers, Antonio Palocci and Mario Negromonte, seven senators, and 11 federal lawmakers.

Under the alleged corruption scheme, companies won contracts including illicit surcharges of between one and six percent of the deal and would pass the cash on to intermediaries who would set up front firms.

Those front companies would produce bogus contracts, services and consultancy services, with the money laundered through those firms.

Police estimate that overall the corrupt network managed to launder around $3.8 billion.

Most of the politicians cited by Costa are from the Workers' Party of President Dilma Rousseff or from allied parties, such as the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

On Friday, two of the implicated, Hoffmann and Palocci, denied any involvement in the affair.

"I have nothing to fear from the investigation under way," said Hoffmann in a statement, adding she was prepared to waive the privacy of her bank accounts for prosecutors.

In the far-reaching scandal, Senate president Renan Calheiros, and the leader of Congress' lower chamber, Henrique Eduardo Alves, both of the center left PMDB, have both been previously named by Costas as taking bribes. Both have rejected the accusations.

Prosecutors have already charged 39 people in the bribery scandal, including Costa and Nestor Cervero, formerly a Petrobras director of international operations.

However, no political officials have yet been charged.

On Thursday, Rousseff, who narrowly won re-election in October, urged corrupt officials be held responsible but without "destroying" Petrobras in the process, calling for a national pact against corruption.


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