Brazil police conduct search, seize warrants in probe with BNDES links

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 15, 2016 8:37 AM

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's federal police said on Thursday they were conducting search and seizure warrants as part of an investigation into fraudulent public contracts that includes loans from the country's massive state development bank BNDES.

In a statement, the police said they were also seeking 11 people for interrogation in three states as well as the federal district in the latest phase of the investigation known as the "Acronym Operation" that started last year.

The probe is the latest in a series of sweeping anti-corruption investigations that has rattled Brazil's political and business establishment in recent years.

Brazilian prosecutors on Wednesday charged ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's most popular politician, with being in command of a massive corruption scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras.

The police said they are now investigating a company for paying bribes to help a construction firm get cheap BNDES loans to finance projects in the Dominican Republic, Angola, Cuba, Panama, Ghana and Mexico. They did not name the suspected company or builder.

More than two dozen builders that include Odebrecht, Latin America's largest engineering group, have been accused of colluding to rig contracts at Petrobras.

Marcelo Odebrecht, the former chief executive of the company that bears with family's name, was sentenced in March to 19 years in jail for bribery, money laundering and organized crime in the Petrobras kickback scandal.

(Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Bernadette Baum)