A Executive of the Brazilian state oil company told a congressional panel began accepting bribes from some of the largest construction firms in the country 18 years ago Tuesday.
According to federal prosecutors, the scheme involved the payment of at least $ 800 million in bribes and other funds by major engineering and construction companies in exchange for inflated contracts with Petrobras. Prosecutors have said that some of that money was transferred to the ruling Workers Party and other major political organizations to political campaigns.
In a session broadcast on network TV Globo, Pedro Barusco told lawmakers that as part of a plea deal with prosecutors agreed to repatriate approximately $ 100 million in bank accounts abroad.
Barusco, the first witness to be questioned by the panel, said he and other executives of Petrobras took the initiative to approach companies to solicit bribes in 1997.
But for 2003 “that practice had he done more extensive and had been institutionalized,” he added.
Barusco added that the Workers Party received twice his illegal payments, “which makes me estimate that between 150 million and 200 million ended up” to the left.
Last week the Brazilian Supreme Court decided that 54 prominent politicians are investigated for alleged ties to bribes.
Under Brazilian law, the Supreme Court must approve any research to legislators or senior executive. Any criminal charge or trial of those figures must be approved and judged by the high court.
Participants in the currency black market reached an agreement with prosecutors have said they helped move money along with former senior executives of Petrobras, who admitted having taken hundreds of millions in bribes.
Among those who will be investigated are the former president and current senator Fernando Collor de Mello, who was forced to resign by a corruption scandal in 1992.
Shall also investigate the Senate leader Renan Calheiros, and Eduardo Cunha, president of the lower house. Both are members of the powerful Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which belongs to the ruling coalition.