Rousseff’s Former Chief of Staff Arrested in Petrobras Scandal Probe

September 29, 2016

September 26, 2016 (Panampost) Brazil’s former chief of staff under President Dilma Rousseff and former minister of Finance under President Lula de Silva was arrested Monday on corruption charges related to the Petrobras scandal.

The influential Workers Party politician Antonio Palocci was detained in Sao Paulo with possible connection to bribes paid by construction company Odebrecht —the central company investigated by the Brazilian police’s Car Wash probe.

Palocci allegedly mediated the finalizing of contracts between Petrobras and private companies. The contracts awarded them construction projects for two major ocean oil platforms.

Federal police officials said they are investigating “negotiations between the Odebrecht Group and the former minister to try to pass a bill.”

The bill was intended to result in “huge tax benefits” as well as the increase of the credit for an African country through development bank BNDES. The investigation also involves the “interference in the process of Petrobras bids for the purchase of 21 vessels to probe exploration of pre-salt layers. ”

In addition, the Brazil’s federal police said today’s operation involving other arrests is centered in Sao Paulo. However, investigations are also being conducted in Rio de Janeiro, Espiritu Santo, Bahia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and the Federal District of Brasilia.

There are reportedly 49 total court orders all related to “fraud in tenders, corruption of public officials and the transfer of resources to operators responsible for appointments of expensive major political parties” in Petrobras.

Also present are “companies that formed consortium construction contracts for two platforms though they did not possess experience, structure or preparing to do so.”

On Thursday, September 22, former Minister of Brazilian Economy Guido Mantega was also detained and investigated for trying to negotiate “directly” with the heads of a contractor of Petrobras that could pay campaign debts.

Lula Da Silva has also been accused of passive corruption and money laundering.