UPDATE 2-Former Petrobras exec details corruption scheme in hearing

martes 10 de marzo de 2015 18:42 GYT

(Adds Workers' Party comment, paragraphs 7, 8)

BRASILIA, March 10 (Reuters) - A former Petrobras executive told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that Brazil's ruling Workers' Party received up to $200 million skimmed from contracts with the state-run oil company, reiterating claims made in plea bargain testimony.

Pedro Barusco, a former executive at Petrobras' services division, said he had received payments as early as 1997 and in larger amounts starting in 2004, one year after the Workers' Party took office.

He said João Vaccari, treasurer for President Dilma Rousseff's political party, had received between $150 million and $200 million between 2003 and 2014, based on the percentages of contracts he himself had received.

"I got a piece; they got a piece," Barusco said. He has pledged to return $97 million to public coffers as part of a deal he reached with prosecutors.

Barusco spoke at a time of escalating fallout from the scandal at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, with dozens of lawmakers now implicated.

Barusco said he did not know who ultimately ran the scheme and to his knowledge Former Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster, who resigned along with other senior Petrobras management last month, was not involved.

The Workers' Party denied that its treasurer had ever discussed funding with Barusco and said it only received legal donations. In a statement, the party said that in five hours of testimony, Barusco had provided no proof linking Vaccari to bribes.

The party is suing Barusco.   Continuación...