Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brazil: Two Independent Investigative Teams to Look Into Corruption at Petrobras

According to The Latin American Tribune, Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras said it has hired two independent private investigators to look into allegations of corruption that have tainted some associates of President Dilma Rousseff, who was re-elected over the weekend.

“Petrobras has signed contracts with two independent firms, one from Brazil and the other from the US, specialized in investigation to look into the nature, extent and impact of the alleged misdeeds,” the company said in a statement.

The oil company, whose shares are listed on the New York, São Paulo, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, said the contracts were signed last Friday and Saturday.

The allegations, also under investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police and Congress, center on a corruption network embedded in Petrobras that charged extraordinary commissions on each of the state-controlled company’s contracts and spread the money among political parties allied with Rousseff.

COMMENT: Some thirty politicians have been named by Petrobras’ former supply director, Paulo Roberto Costa, and businessman Alberto Youssef, both arrested weeks ago and who have agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduction of their sentences.

The two whistleblowers, who have admitted their complicity in the scheme, have reportedly said that almost 3% of the price of each Petrobras contract was funneled to political organizations, especially Rousseff’s Workers Party (PT). 

Youssef owns a foreign exchange agency that, according to reports, handled the funds skimmed from contracts.

Opposition presidential candidate Sen. Aecio Neves repeatedly talked about the allegations during the campaign leading up to Sunday’s presidential election, which ended with Rousseff winning a second term with 51.64% of the vote.

Two days before the voting, VEJA magazine reported that both Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, knew about the corruption scheme within Petrobras.

President Rousseff denied the allegations and said she would sue VEJA, while Youssef’s attorney said he never heard his client making such charges in his deposition.

Re: the above paragraph, corroboration of the statements will be verified as new information becomes available.

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