TIMELINE-Main events in Brazil corruption probe
April 28 (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors charged political strategist Joao Santana, the architect of President Dilma Rousseff's 2010 and 2014 election victories, with corruption on Thursday. Below are some of the main events in the investigation focused on state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras. March 20, 2014 Federal police arrest the former head of Petrobras' refining and supply department, Paulo Roberto Costa, after noticing Costa was given a Range Rover car by convicted black market money changer Alberto Youssef. Aug. 22, 2014 Costa signs a plea bargain deal with prosecutors, agreeing to explain the corruption scheme and name beneficiaries in exchange for a lighter sentence. Plea bargains become a cornerstone of the investigation. Nov. 14, 2014 Federal police arrest 18 people, including former Petrobras engineering and services director Renato Duque and senior engineering executives, in the first broad raid of the investigation. Dec. 11, 2014 Prosecutors in Curitiba formally charge 36 people, 22 of them from engineering firms OAS , Camargo Correa, UTC Engenharia, Galvao Engenharia, Mendes Junior and Engevix. Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol declares war on corruption in Brazil in a nationally televised press conference. Dec. 29, 2014 Petrobras bans 23 suppliers cited in the investigation from bidding on tenders. As of Dec. 2, 2015, 32 firms were banned. Feb. 6, 2015 Aldir Bendine, former head of state-run Banco do Brasil SA, steps in as Petrobras chief executive after Maria das Graças Foster and other senior executives resign abruptly. March 6, 2015 Brazil's Supreme Court says it will investigate the speakers of both houses of Congress and 32 other sitting politicians in connection with the Petrobras scheme. April 15, 2016 Brazilian police arrest the former treasurer of the ruling Workers' Party, Joao Vaccari, moving the investigation closer to Rousseff's inner circle. May 26, 2015 Nestor Cervero, former international director of Petrobras, is sentenced to five years in jail for money laundering. June 19, 2015 Police arrest the CEO of the country's largest construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht, head of family-run conglomerate Odebrecht SA. July 14, 2015 Federal police carry out search and seizure operations at the home of Senator and former President Fernando Collor de Mello, the first such operation targeting a sitting politician. July 20, 2015 Three executives of Brazil's Camargo Correa group are convicted of money laundering, corruption and other charges, the first construction industry executives to be sentenced. The CEO's sentence is reduced from 16 years in prison to a year of house arrest because of his plea deal. July 28, 2015 Police arrest two executives involved in building a nuclear power plant for state-run utility Eletrobras. "Operation Radioactivity" focused on Eletrobras' Eletronuclear division, which is building a third nuclear-power reactor at Angra dos Reis, west of Rio de Janeiro. July 29, 2015 Prosecutors say Renato Duque, former head of Petrobras' corporate services division, unfairly favored Italy's Saipem SpA on a contract for an undersea gas pipeline. More than a dozen foreign companies are thought to have bribed Petrobras executives. Aug. 3, 2015 Police arrest former government minister Jose Dirceu, one of the most senior members of the Workers Party. Dirceu was Lula's chief of staff from 2003 to 2005. Aug. 6, 2015 Prosecutors present formal charges against Jorge Zelada, the former head of Petrobras' international division, saying he favored U.S. company Vantage Drilling in a rig contract. Aug. 20, 2015 Prosecutors in Brasilia charge the speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, with taking a $5 million bribe related to two drillship contracts. Cunha, who broke with Rousseff's government and is in charge of impeachment proceedings against her, fiercely denies the accusations. Aug. 21, 2015 Prosecutors say Camargo Corrêa agreed to pay 700 million reais to compensate state-run companies for damages related to bribery and price-fixing as part of a leniency agreement also signed with antitrust regulator CADE. Sept. 30, 2015 Switzerland provides Brazilian prosecutors with Swiss bank accounts in Cunha's name. Nov. 24, 2015 Police arrest Jose Carlos Bumlai, a powerful rancher and friend of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, bringing their investigation to the country's cane and agriculture sector. Nov. 25, 2015 Police jail Senator Delcidio do Amaral and the chief executive of Brazil's largest independent investment bank on suspicion of obstructing the investigation. Billionaire banker Andre Esteves, CEO of BTG Pactual SA, is later released for lack of evidence. March 3 The magazine IstoE reports Amaral testified in a plea bargain that President Rousseff and Lula fostered widespread graft in the state oil company Petrobras and have repeatedly tried to thwart its investigation. Both deny wrongdoing. March 4 Police briefly detain Lula, family members and Workers Party loyalists for questioning over the source of real estate assets and millions in payments suspected of coming from graft at Petrobras. March 8 Marcelo Odebrecht is sentenced to 19 years in jail. March 16 Judge Sergio Moro publishes phone conversations between Rousseff and Lula and says they considered trying to influence anti-graft prosecutors. The phone calls overshadowed Rousseff's attempt to appoint Lula as her chief of staff, a move that would have given him some immunity. Lawyers question the legality of Moro's action. March 22 Prosecutors say they have uncovered systematic corruption at Odebrecht, with an office to pay bribes on work for World Cup soccer stadiums and Olympics legacy projects. Odebrecht says it and its executives will cooperate with prosecutors. April 17 Rousseff loses a crucial impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress for manipulating public accounts. Anti-government protesters cited corruption as a reason for supporting her ouster, though Rousseff pointed out she is not actually under investigation unlike many lawmakers who voted for her impeachment. April 28 Prosecutors charge political strategist Joao Santana with corruption. The architect of Rousseff's 2010 and 2014 campaigns, he was arrested in February after police accused him of receiving bribes from Odebrecht. Brazil's comptroller general said it had barred builder Mendes Junior Engenharia from public tenders for at least two years, making it the first company to be penalized for involvement in the Petrobras scheme. (Compiled by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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