BRASILIA, March 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian police arrested a former Petroleo Brasileiro SA executive on Monday, in a broad kickback and money laundering investigation that has rattled some of the nation’s biggest companies and political parties.
Former services director Renato Duque, who had already been detained for three weeks late last year as part of the so-called “Operation Car Wash”, was arrested by Brazilian federal police at his house in Rio de Janeiro, TV Globo said.
Brazil’s federal police said in a Twitter message they were serving a 10th round of search and arrest warrants in the bribery investigation but gave no details of who was arrested.
The scandal’s fallout has put political pressure on President Dilma Rousseff. On Sunday, it helped fuel massive street protests across Brazil against her administration.
It has also battered shares of Petrobras, as the company is commonly known.
Prosecutors say engineering and construction firms paid bribes to win Petrobras contracts, funneling a cut of the overcharged projects to executives, vendors and political parties, including Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party.
Another former Petrobras executive jailed in the case, the ex-head of refining and supply Paulo Roberto Costa, struck a plea bargain deal last year, providing information that has led to the investigation of dozens of executives and politicians.
The corruption probe has so far led to 40 indictments on racketeering, bribery and money laundering charges. Those indicted include two former Petrobras senior managers and 23 executives from six of Brazil’s leading construction and engineering firms.
Prosecutors have asked the Supreme Court to investigate 34 sitting politicians, including the speakers of both houses of Congress, for allegedly receiving bribe money.
Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Anthony Boadle and W Simon