Internal investigation of Brazil's Eletrobras expands - source

jueves 7 de enero de 2016 13:16 GYT

By Caroline Stauffer

SAO PAULO Jan 7 (Reuters) - An internal investigation of potential corruption at Brazil's state-run energy utility Eletrobras has expanded to include five more Brazilian hydroelectric dams, a source with access to the probe said.

Lawyers investigating possible violations of U.S. and Brazilian anti-corruption laws hope to finish their work in March in order to deliver a delayed financial report to U.S. regulators, and their findings could impact Eletrobras' second-quarter balance sheet, the source said.

Eletrobras, formally known as Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, hired U.S.-based law firm Hogan Lovells and Sao Paulo-based WFaria Advogados as well as three independent commissioners to assess possible graft involving Eletrobras and private construction firms in Brazil.

Kroll, a U.S.-based risk consulting firm, more recently joined the investigatory commission, the source said. Kroll did not respond to a request for comment. Eletrobras said it would only comment on the internal investigation when it was concluded.

The number of people under investigation has increased as new projects are added, the source said.

Prosecutors say construction companies accused of overcharging state-run oil firm Petrobras for work and passing on excess funds as bribes repeated the scheme at the smaller Eletrobras, adding to the economic toll corruption has wrought on Brazil's economy over the past decade.

The commission has not cleared the four initial projects Reuters learned were being investigated in September: Angra 3 nuclear power plant and Amazon dams Belo Monte, Jirau and Santo Antonio, the source said, declining to name the five new dams.

The source did not estimate or confirm possible corruption losses but said a graft write-off was "very probable, considering what is already in the media about Eletronuclear."   Continuación...