WRAPUP 2-Esteves quits as head of Brazil's BTG Pactual amid graft probe

domingo 29 de noviembre de 2015 23:38 GYT
 

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO Nov 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian financier André Esteves resigned as chief executive and chairman of Grupo BTG Pactual SA late on Sunday after he was jailed as part of a corruption probe rapidly ensnaring Latin America's largest independent investment bank.

Prosecutors are preparing to file charges against the billionaire dealmaker, who they suspect, along with a Brazilian senator, of trying to obstruct a long-running investigation into graft at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

Esteves, through his lawyer, has denied the allegations.

In a fresh twist to the near two-year long probe, Brazilian newspapers said police found documents allegedly linking BTG Pactual to the payment of bribes to ruling coalition lawmakers.

It is the first time the bank has been directly implicated in the bribery scandal and the newspapers said prosecutors used the documents to persuade the country's Supreme Court to extend Esteves' detention.

The documents contained information alleging that BTG Pactual paid 45 million reais ($11.7 million) to Eduardo Cunha, speaker of the lower house of Congress, in exchange for the passage of legislation favoring the bank, the newspapers said.

BTG Pactual denied the payments in a statement on Sunday and pledged to cooperate with authorities.

A source familiar with the matter said the revelations and the extension of Esteves' detention convinced him and his business partners that he had to resign.   Continuación...