UPDATE 2-Brazil near deal on firms hit by Petrobras probe -source
(Adds detail about companies banned from working with Petrobras)
By Alonso Soto
BRASILIA Aug 26 (Reuters) - Brazil's government is working on a deal to allow construction companies implicated in a massive corruption scandal to resume doing business with state-run oil company Petrobras in exchange for paying fines and damages, a government official briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.
The official, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are not public, said the government is in talks with federal prosecutors to finalize the deal, which would be implemented through a presidential decree.
The source did not say when the agreement, which could bring in billions of dollars to state coffers, would be concluded.
A spokesman for Brazil's presidency declined to comment.
"This is not part of a plan to salvage the companies or fatten government accounts," said the official. "The objective is for these companies to resume work in exchange for compensation to both Petrobras and the federal government."
Finance Minister Joaquim Levy, however, later told reporters in Brasilia the ministry is not working on a decree that would allow the companies to work for Petrobras again.
"The government is very worried and wants these companies to resume work to give a breather to the economy," said a senior ruling party lawmaker directly involved in the talks for a decree, told Reuters. Continuación...