Ex-Petrobras director re-arrested on Swiss bank allegation

jueves 12 de junio de 2014 10:51 GYT

RIO DE JANEIRO May 12 (Reuters) - A former executive of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, who is under investigation for involvement in a money-laundering scheme, was re-arrested on Wednesday after Brazilian prosecutors said he kept $23 million in a Swiss bank.

Paulo Roberto Costa, the former head of the company's refining and supply unit, was first detained in March as part of the probe but later released by a Supreme Court judge. His re-arrest came a day after giving testimony about the case in Brazil's Congress.

Petrobras, as the company is known, has suffered with a series of scandals that have raised questions about its notoriously high costs, management difficulties and production delays. The Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer is currently under investigation by two congressional inquiry commissions.

A spokesperson for Brazil's Federal Police confirmed Costa was arrested on Wednesday without giving more details. Local media said a judge ordered his arrest to prevent him from fleeing the country after details about secret Swiss bank accounts emerged.

Brazilian prosecutors received information about the accounts from Swiss authorities, who declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Costa's lawyer told Globo TV he was "unaware" of any bank account held by his client in Switzerland and that his arrest was a hasty decision. (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte. Additional reporting by Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich.; Editing by Jeb Blount and Marguerita Choy)