Brazil to resume plea deal talks with builder OAS, paper says

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 13, 2016 7:28 AM

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors are expected to resume plea bargaining talks with executives of OAS SA [OAS.UL], which is among 31 engineering and construction companies accused of rigging state contracts in Brazil's worst-ever corruption scandal, newspaper Valor Econômico said on Tuesday.

Citing unnamed sources, Valor said the Prosecutor-General's Office is poised to formally restart talks with OAS's legal advisers in the near future, having suspended negotiations in August after parts of former OAS Chief Executive Officer Leo Pinheiro's testimony were leaked in the local press.

Federal prosecutors and OAS lawyers have been negotiating over the past month, Valor said, noting that eventual testimonies may involve lawmakers and other politicians who have immunity from prosecution. The newspaper did not elaborate on the identity of those politicians.

A public relations official working for Sao Paulo-based OAS declined to make immediate comment, as did the media office of the Brasilia-based Prosecutor-General's Office.

The so-called "Operation Car Wash" corruption investigation linked to projects in the run-up to the World Cup soccer tournament and other works worth billions of dollars accelerated the downfall of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached on Aug. 31 for allegedly doctoring budget accounts.

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Speculation is mounting that Pinheiro's testimony could implicate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, another former Brazilian president and Rousseff's mentor, Valor said.

Lula's lawyers have repeatedly denied he is involved in any wrongdoing related to OAS.

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by David Goodman)