UPDATE 3-Brazil graft probe could ensnare Eletrobras, foreign firms -prosecutor

martes 23 de junio de 2015 20:12 GYT

(Adds quotes from prosecutor Lima)

By Caroline Stauffer

CURITIBA, Brazil, June 23 (Reuters) - Brazil's biggest corruption investigation could spread to its largest 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 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.

He called an estimate of $2.1 billion worth of bribes moved in the scheme "conservative."

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