Brazil prosecutors say charges pending over Ensco drillship lease

viernes 7 de agosto de 2015 14:58 GYT

SAO PAULO Aug 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors plan to file criminal charges stemming from the lease of an Ensco Plc offshore oil-drilling ship to Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras "in due course," they said.

The plan to prosecute over the Ensco-Petrobras charter was mentioned in a Thursday statement presenting corruption charges stemming from the 2009 lease of another drillship, Vantage Drilling's Titanium Explorer Rig.

In the Vantage case, prosecutors formally charged six people, including Petrobras' former international-unit chief Jorge Zelada.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, chartered the DS-5 in 2008, when it was owned by Pride International, a company London-based Ensco purchased in 2011.

Prosecutors say more than a dozen international firms may have paid bribes to former Petrobras executives, part of a massive scheme of price-fixing and political kickbacks.

Charges filed on Thursday against Hsin Chi Su, chief executive of Taiwanese shipping firm TMT, emphasize the increasingly global nature of what is now thought to be one of the largest corruption cases in the world.

Prosecutors first mentioned irregularities about the Titanium Explorer DS-5 contracts in July when Zelada was arrested.

Since then, plea-bargain testimony from lobbyist Hamylton Padilha pointed to the existence of "a grand scheme of corruption and money laundering involving multinational executives, lobbyists and financial operators to pay bribes to corrupt Petrobras officials," prosecutors wrote on Thursday.

Padilha and Su were among the six people charged on Thursday with orchestrating a $31 million bribe to seal the Vantage contract with Petrobras. Neither could be reached for comment.   Continuación...