Brazilian lawmaker arrested over Petrobras scandal

Brasilia, Nov 26 (IANS) Leader of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party in the Senate was arersted for interfering in the corruption probe of state-owned oil giant Petrobras, the media reported on Thursday.

Delcidio do Amaral was accused of interfering in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) operation, which investigates corruption in governmental contracts, especially those related to Petrobras, police said.

The senator had offered a 50,000-reals ($13,360) monthly bribe to former Petrobras director Nelson Cervero in exchange for keeping his involvement in the corruption scheme a secret, Xinhua news agency reported.

Cervero was arrested on Wednesday and has agreed to testify for the state in exchange for leniency.

Amaral also promised Cervero he would tilt federal trials in his favour, and offered to help him flee the country.

The involvement of Amaral in Petrobras corruption scandal had already been exposed by Fernando Baiano, a lobbyist who was also arrested over the case and agreed to testify for the state.

According to Baiano, Amaral received a bribe worth $1.5 million related to Petrobras’ purchase of the Pasadena oil refinery in Texas. The purchase was widely regarded as a very bad deal for Petrobras and was investigated for overpricing.

More than 100 people have now been arrested in the two-year investigation, including politicians and former top executives at Petrobras, and some of the country’s biggest construction firms.

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