UPDATE 3-Brazil accuses former Petrobras executive of favoring Italy's Saipem

jueves 30 de julio de 2015 03:30 GYT

(Adds Saipem comment)

SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Brazil said on Wednesday former Petrobras executive Renato Duque had unfairly favored Italy's Saipem SpA on a contract for an undersea gas pipeline for the Lula and Cernambi offshore subsalt fields.

The accusations came in an emailed summary of charges against Duque, who is on trial over allegations of corruption, and four other people in a price-fixing, bribery and political kickback scheme at Brazil's state-run oil firm.

Prosecutors said Duque accepted bribes from Saipem's representative in exchange for favoring the company in a 2011 auction for the pipeline contract. As director of services at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Duque was the senior executive responsible for contracting.

Saipem said it had not been notified by the authorities of the allegations.

"Should that happen we will cooperate fully," the company said in an emailed comment.

This is the first time that the Milan-based oil industry services company has been mentioned in the scandal, which prosecutors believe ensnared more than a dozen foreign firms.

Duque's lawyer Alexandre Lopes said the charges were completely unfounded and based on plea bargain testimony that could not be proven.

The 19-kilometer (11.8 mile) pipeline, which can carry 14 million cubic meters (494 million cu. ft.) of natural gas a day, is part of a series of lines that will link offshore fields in the Lula complex with Brazil's coast east of Rio de Janeiro.   Continuación...