Brazil moves to speed corrupt firms access to state cash -sources

viernes 18 de diciembre de 2015 02:36 GYT

By Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA Dec 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff plans to issue a decree on Friday to speed up a process allowing construction companies involved in a major corruption scandal to regain the right to receive government money, two sources told Reuters.

More than 30 of the country's top construction and engineering companies, including Odebrecht SA, Queiroz Galvão, OAS, and Galvão Engenharia SA are on a government blacklist for involvement in price-fixing, bribery and political kickbacks at oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, and other state-run firms.

The government, unions, prominent industrialists and politicians want to renew the companies' access to government money to prevent the worst recession in at least three decades from worsening, two senior Presidential Palace sources told Reuters.

The sources asked for anonymity because Rousseff has not signed the decree but is expected to on Friday.

Government funds, buoyed by a now-extinct commodities boom, irrigated the corruption scandal. The scandal has paralyzed Petrobras, the country's largest company, pushed hundreds of companies to the verge of bankruptcy, worsened the recession and led to tens of thousands of layoffs.

Legislation permitting so-called leniency accords between the government and the banned companies, though, is stalled in Congress, which has been paralyzed by debates over the proposed impeachment of Rousseff and the arrest of prominent political figures as a result of the corruption investigation.

On Monday, Congress is due to go into recess until mid-February.

Under Brazilian law, the decree would allow the accords to go into effect immediately. Congress would then have 60 days to confirm the decree as law, or reject it.   Continuación...