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Latino Daily News

Sunday April 13, 2014

Brazil’s Petrobras Turns Over Documents in Corruption Probe

Brazil’s Petrobras Turns Over Documents in Corruption Probe

Photo: Petrobras

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Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras turned over documents to Federal Police investigators carrying out a corruption probe, officials said.

The company had previously been notified and cooperated with investigators who arrived at its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, the Federal Police said in a statement.

The police were personally received Friday by CEO Maria das Gracas Silva Foster, who handed over the documents they requested regarding a specific contract, Petrobras said in a statement.

The documents were seized as part of a probe into a corruption ring accused of laundering nearly 10 billion reais (some $4.6 billion) in ill-begotten proceeds.

Last month, police arrested Alberto Youssef, a politically connected owner of a foreign-exchange office who is the suspected leader of the purported money-laundering ring.

As part of the probe, police also detained a former Petrobras downstream operations director, Paulo Roberto Costa.

Costa was arrested over alleged links between his consulting company and organized crime elements accused of laundering proceeds from corrupt activities, illicit capital flight, the smuggling of precious stones, drug trafficking and other crimes.

Police are specifically investigating a $443.8 million reais ($201.7 million) contract between Petrobras and the company Ecoglobal Ambiental Comercio e Servicios that was signed in July 2013 and handled by Costa, according to press reports.

Police suspect Ecoglobal’s owners may have been front men for Youssef in an operation to divert Petrobras funds.

Separately, police are investigating alleged irregularities in Petrobras’ costly 2006 acquisition of a refinery in Pasadena, Texas, and purported bribes received by senior Petrobras executives in return for awarding platform-rental contracts to Dutch company SBM Offshore.

Authorities also are probing the sale by Petrobras of a refinery it once operated in Argentina.

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