By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, sat for almost three hours in front of a Congressional Committee created to investigate corruption allegations within the state-controlled petroleum giant and said nothing.
“I have nothing to declare,” said Costa over eighteen times to Senators and Chamber Representatives who asked him questions about the illegal kickback accusations he made against approximately thirty politicians, congressmen, governors and state ministers.
The legislators even proposed to close the session, making it a secret what ever the former executive had to say, but that did not persuade the former executive. “It (the session) can remain open because I will continue to hold the position that I have nothing to declare,” he repeated.
Mr. Costa has been under arrest since March accused of money laundering. He has since entered a plea-bargaining deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence in exchange to giving the courts the names of those who benefited from the illegal money schemes while he was a director (2004-2012).
The Petrobras scandal has been seen as a threat to President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election plans, with the administration scrambling to control the damage which may spill over onto the Presidency less than three weeks from election day. The issue however has been dominating election campaigns, with opposition candidates Marina Silva (PSB – Socialist Party) and Aecio Neves (PSDB – Social Democrat Party) questioning how much Rousseff knew about the kickbacks and how many of her political allies were involved.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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