BRASILIA, June 9 (Reuters) - Brazil has banned the local unit of Swedish construction company Skanska AB from doing government work for at least two years as a result of alleged in involvement in a bribery and kickback scandal, the government said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Transparency and Control said Skanska Brasil Ltda belonged to a cartel that fixed prices on contracts with Petroleo Brasileiro SA. The government also said the company paid 3 million reais ($890,000) in bribes to obtain a 1.3-billion-real ($386 million) contract for the expansion of an oil terminal for the state-run company.
Skanska Brasil has denied being part of the cartel of 20 engineering and construction companies under investigation in the massive corruption scheme that has landed executives in jail and put dozens of politicians under investigation for allegedly receiving kickbacks.
Skanska’s press office in Stockholm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Skanska is the second engineering and construction company to be penalized as a result of the corruption probe at Petrobras, as the state oil company is known. Brazilian builder Mendes Junior Engenharia was barred from bidding for government contracts in April.
Like Skanska, Mendes Junior had not sought to negotiate a leniency deal with the ministry, Brazil’s main anti-corruption body.
Skanska Brasil can lift the ban on public tender by returning money lost to the state, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry had been called the Comptroller General’s office but was renamed by Brazil’s new government.
$1 = 3.37 Brazilian reais Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn