Brazil police conduct new round of raids linked to Petrobras probe

lunes 16 de noviembre de 2015 06:32 GYT

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO Nov 16 (Reuters) - Brazil's Federal Police on Monday began a new round of arrests and search and seizure operations in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia related to a corruption probe involving state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA, police said.

In a statement, the police said officers were making 11 search and seizure orders and looking to arrest two people as part of the 20th round of the so-called "Operation Car Wash" investigation. Another five people are also being searched and will be taken to court in Curitiba, in southern Brazil, where they will be questioned, the statement said.

The seven people are former officials at the company, known as Petrobras, and are under investigation over alleged graft related to contracts for the company's Abreu e Lima and Pasadena refineries, the statement said.

Dozens of leading Brazilian executives and politicians have been arrested or are under investigation for overcharging Petrobras and other state firms on contracts and using part of those proceeds to bribe members of President Dilma Rousseff's ruling coalition.

The statement also said police were investigating the business of a money changer who might have facilitated the bribery payments to senior executives at Petrobras' distribution division.

O Globo newspaper said on Monday that Diego Candolo, a money changer that facilitated $6 million in bribery payments for executives at the division, is ready to cut a plea deal with prosecutors. The newspaper did not say how it obtained the information.

Reuters' was not immediately able to contact Candolo. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Pedro Fonseca. Editing by Jane Merriman)