UPDATE 1-Police raid Brazil steelmaker Gerdau in graft probe

jueves 25 de febrero de 2016 08:25 GYT
 

(Adds company comment)

SAO PAULO Feb 25 (Reuters) - Federal police raided the offices of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA as part of an ongoing corruption and tax evasion investigation known as "Operation Zealots," the company said in a statement on Thursday.

A police statement said search and seizure warrants were being carried out in the cities of Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Recife. The raids are part of an inquiry into a scheme involving kickbacks to tax officials in return for waiving tax debts and fines.

Police said Gerdau, Brazil's largest steelmaker headquartered in Porto Alegre, is suspected of evading 1.5 billion reais ($380 million) in back taxes.

Gerdau said the company was cooperating with police and had no further information to provide. (Reporting by Maria Pia Palermo and Anthony Boadle; Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by Toby Chopra and W Simon)