UPDATE 2-Brazil graft probe could ensnare Eletrobras, foreign firms -prosecutor

martes 23 de junio de 2015 19:17 GYT

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By Caroline Stauffer

CURITIBA, Brazil, June 23 (Reuters) - Brazil's biggest corruption investigation could spread to its biggest electric utility, Eletrobras, and more than a dozen foreign companies, a lead prosecutor said on Tuesday, in a sign of further turbulence for the country's business and political establishment.

Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima said a scheme similar to one set up as state-run oil firm Petrobras may have operated at Eletrobras, specifically on major projects like nuclear reactor Angra 3 and the $13 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon.

In a wide-ranging interview, the Cornell University educated prosecutor said "there are many charges still to come," in a probe he said was likely to continue for at least another two years.

The groundbreaking inquiry has already ensnared dozens of senior executives, battered the popularity of President Dilma Rousseff and rattled the fragile Brazilian economy.

The 16-month old investigation has also turned up evidence of corruption by more than a dozen foreign firms, including South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Swedish builder Skanska AB, Danish oil and shipping group Maersk and British engineer Rolls-Royce Holdings, Lima said.

By investigating another state-controlled company and including so many foreign Petrobras suppliers, the prosecutors have significantly extended the scope of an investigation that claimed one of its biggest scalps yet with the arrest of the chief executive at Brazil's biggest construction and engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA.

Lima has said he has no doubt that Odebrecht and rival construction company Andrade Gutierrez led a "cartel" that overcharged Petrobras for work and passed on the excess to executives and politicians.   Continuación...