May 21, 2017 / 10:55 AM / in a year

CORRECTED-French prosecutors investigate DCNS submarines sale to Brazil -Le Parisien

(Corrects to show Lava Jato probe launched in 2014, not 2015)

PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) - French financial prosecutors have launched an investigation into a 6.7 billion euro ($7.5 billion) 2008 contract between naval supplier DCNS and Brazil that included the sale of five submarines, French daily Le Parisien said on Sunday.

The investigation, started in October last year, concerns potential “corruption of foreign officials” and is linked to a Brazilian inquiry dubbed Lava Jato, or Car Wash, that was initiated in 2014 to investigate alleged bribery involving hundreds of politicians and public figures, the paper said without citing sources.

DCNS said it could not confirm that a French inquiry had been opened and it denied being involved in the Brazilian investigation.

“We have nothing to do with the Lava Jato case. DCNS scrupulously respects the rules of law around the world,” a spokesman told Reuters.

The French financial prosecutors’ office did not respond immediately to a Reuters request for comment.

On its Twitter account on May 12, it said that prosecutors had spoken to the head of Brazil’s Supreme Court and visited Brazil’s central office against corruption but made no reference to the investigation reported by Le Parisien.

Newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported in 2015 that Brazilian federal police were investigating potential irregularities in the military programme to build a nuclear-powered submarine in partnership with France by 2023.

The paper did not say if DCNS, which is 62 percent owned by the French state and 35 percent by French defence electronics group Thales SA, was being investigated. ($1 = 0.8925 euros) (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by David Goodman)

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