Argentine prosecutors cast wide net in Brazil graft probe: source

lunes 14 de marzo de 2016 12:55 GYT

By Nicolás Misculin

BUENOS AIRES, March 14 (Reuters) - Argentine prosecutors are probing close to 100 companies, among them Brazilian firms, in an investigation into the suspected payment of bribes to government officials, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation said.

The Argentine probe stems from Brazil's "Operation Car Wash" graft case, which has resulted in the jailing of some company executives, criminal charges against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and which threatens to topple his successor, Dilma Rousseff.

An Argentine prosecutor said last week that the local unit of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA is under investigation in Argentina for possible bribery. A Brazilian court sentenced Odebrecht's former chief executive, Marcelo Odebrecht, to 19 years in prison last week for his role in the snowballing scandal in Brazil.

The Argentine source said other Brazilian firms under investigation in Argentina include Andrade Gutierrez , OAS and Camargo Correa.

The federal judge spearheading the case in Brazil has said Odebrecht formed a "cartel" with other companies through which they systematically rigged bidding on state-run projects.

"Brazilian prosecutors said there was a reasonable suspicion that the same scheme was replicated here in Argentina," the source said on Friday.

Construction and engineering group Camargo Correa said it was unaware of the Argentine investigation.   Continuación...