President: oil firm probe could change Brazil

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2014 2:42 PM

SAO PAULO (AP) — The investigation into kickbacks at Brazil's state oil company could forever change the relationship among society and the country's state and private companies, President Dilma Rousseff said Sunday.

Rousseff spoke to mostly Brazilian reporters at a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, where a two-day summit with world leaders was ending. Her office posted a video of her comments online.

The president says the probe of the oil firm Petrobras signaled "an end to impunity" in corruption cases.

Authorities allege top Petrobras officials operated a kickback scheme on contracts involving several billion dollars, with the money later going back to the governing Workers Party and other top parties for political campaigns.

Police on Friday arrested Renato Duque, the former director of services of Petrobras, for his alleged role in the scheme.

"The fact that we are being absolutely open about this investigation is a huge difference," Rousseff said. "I think that it can actually change the country forever."

"It's the first effective corruption investigation being carried out that involves private and public interests. And the first one that is getting to the bottom," she added.

Rousseff cautioned against condemning the entire company for the actions of some people.

"We have to be careful because the investigation is not over and we cannot go around saying such, such and such are guilty," said the president. "But it's an investigation that will shed light on the entire process and the damage it caused."