By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in the state of Paraná (MPF-PR), launched today the 51st phase of Operação Lava Jato (Car Wash Operation), focusing on corruption and money laundering crimes involving Petrobras’ International Area and a link with President Temer’s MDB party.
“These unwarranted benefits relate to the fraudulent procurement of more than US$825 million, signed in 2010 by Petrobras with the construction company Norberto Odebrecht,” stated the MPF in a note released to reporters Tuesday morning.
According to prosecutors more than US$56.5 million (equivalent to R$200 million today) were given out in bribes from 2010 to 2012 for the contracts.
Prosecutors have issued four arrest warrants and two temporary arrest warrants, against three former Petrobras employees and three financial operators, one of whom was an intermediary to politicians linked to the then Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), now dubbed MDB.
“This 51st stage of Operation Lava Jato reveals a case in which, unfortunately, there was a complete cycle of corruption,” stated Federal Prosecutor Roberson Pozzobon.
“Through the promise and the effective payment of more than R$200 million in bribes to several public agents, financial operators and political party representatives, construction company Odebrecht was illicitly benefited before and during the execution of a contract worth more than R$3 billion with Petrobras,” Pozzobon added.
The Lava Jato Operation started in 2014 and the four years of investigations have led to the arrest of politicians, CEOs and executives from some of Brazil’s largest and most powerful companies.
During that time than 187 plea-bargaining agreements were signed, which returned more than R$1.9 billion in bribes and illicit payoffs back to public coffers.