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RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's Petrobras has asked contractors implicated in a kickback scheme with the state-run oil company to admit guilt and pay damages in return for lifting a ban on bidding for future contracts, Estado de S.Paulo reported on Saturday.
The move is the latest example of how Petroleo Brasileiro, as the firm is formally known, and the Brazilian government are trying to stop the corruption scandal from paralyzing major projects in the country and weighing on the economy.
The terms were laid out in an email sent on Dec. 29 by Petrobras to all 23 engineering and construction companies blacklisted by the oil major due to alleged participation in the bribery scheme, the Brazilian daily said.
Brazilian prosecutors allege that Petrobras executives conspired with construction companies to inflate the cost of contracts and then kick back proceeds to executives, politicians and political parties as bribes and campaign contributions.
The leniency deal outlined in the email, printed in part by Estado de S.Paulo, required that: "The company admits guilt, pledges to reimburse Petrobras for any losses -- including to its image, reprices current contracts, adopts adequate compliance measures and attends to any further requests from the authorities (concerning the ongoing investigation)."
Companies were given 15 days to respond to the letter. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer, editing by Louise Heavens)