Petrobras scandal about to hit Brazil's political class

miércoles 25 de febrero de 2015 16:51 GYT

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Feb 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's top prosecutor is expected to file charges in coming days against politicians implicated in the Petrobras corruption scandal, a political bombshell that could involve members of Congress and President Dilma Rousseff's government.

Under Brazilian law, lawmakers and cabinet members can only be tried by the Supreme Court. Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot has said he plans to file cases with the court by the end of the month against politicians involved in the graft scheme at Petrobras.

Prosecutors say corrupt executives from Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, conspired with contractors to misappropriate billions of dollars from the company. Some of the funds were funneled to politicians and political parties, the prosecutors say.

Who will be on Janot's list has become a nervous guessing game for Brazil's political class.

"The politicians are worried. They are preparing their lines of defense," said Thiago de Aragao, a partner at Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia.

A spokesman for Janot said he could file some charges but in most cases he would ask the top court to authorize further investigations to establish proof.

Defendants have in plea bargain testimony named more than 40 politicians who received money, including senators and a former governor, according to transcripts leaked to Brazilian media.

Most of those named are from the ruling Workers' Party or allies in Rousseff's governing coalition, but they also include some members of the opposition who allegedly received money funneled from kickbacks on overpriced contracts.   Continuación...