SAO PAULO, July 30 (Reuters) - The lawyer behind the plea bargain deals that helped investigators unearth a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal at Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras said on Thursday she closed her law firm because she felt threatened by a congressional committee.
“For the security of my family, of my children, I decided to end my career in the law,” the lawyer, Beatriz Catta Preta, said in an interview broadcast on TV Globo.
She said she had not received death threats but that threats had come in a “roundabout away.”
Catta Preta abruptly dropped all her clients, including those involved in the massive price-fixing, bribery and political kickback scandal at Petrobras and left for Miami on holiday earlier this month.
A congressional committee investigating Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, had summoned Catta Preta to answer questions on the fees she charged clients.
Brazil’s Supreme Court on Thursday sided with the Brazilian Bar Association and ruled that Catta Preta did not have to testify because of attorney-client privilege.
She negotiated plea deals for nine defendants in the Petrobras case, including Paulo Roberto Costa, former head of the company’s refining and supply division, the first former Petrobras executive to admit to graft in contracts with engineering firms.
In April, Costa was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison for money laundering and racketeering but will serve only one year in house arrest because of his cooperation. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Leslie Adler)