Home >News >World >Petrobras probe to alter Brazilian society forever: Dilma Rousseff
About 10,000 protesters gathered on Saturday on Sao Paulo’s main street, calling for Rousseff’s impeachment with some pleading for military intervention. Photo: AFP
About 10,000 protesters gathered on Saturday on Sao Paulo’s main street, calling for Rousseff’s impeachment with some pleading for military intervention. Photo: AFP

Petrobras probe to alter Brazilian society forever: Dilma Rousseff

Police found evidence that at least 7 construction companies formed a cartel to win public contracts, including $23 billion in orders from Petrobras

Brasilia: The investigation of corruption at state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA will permanently change Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff said.

“It will forever change the relationship between Brazilian society, the Brazilian government and private companies," she told reporters on Sunday at the summit of the Group of 20 nations in Brisbane, Australia. “This will end impunity. This, to me, is the main feature of this investigation."

Police found evidence that at least seven construction companies formed a cartel to win public contracts, including a combined 59 billion reais ($23 billion) in orders from Petrobras as the state company is known, officers including Commissioner Igor Romario de Paula said last week in Curitiba, where the case is before a judge. They declined to name the alleged cartel members.

While the government says the investigation won’t put a stop to the company’s work, it has put pressure on Rousseff’s administration just weeks after she won re-election in the closest race since at least 1945. About 10,000 protesters gathered on Saturday on Sao Paulo’s main street, calling for her impeachment with some pleading for military intervention.

“While I don’t agree with the tenor of the demonstrations, I am neither for nor against demonstrations in general," Rousseff said. “Brazil has space for protests, even one that calls for the return of a coup. Because today we are indeed a democratic country."

House arrest

The scandal spread to Petrobras earlier this year after investigators uncovered ties between Paulo Roberto Costa, the company’s former head of refining, and a black-market money dealer.

Costa, who is under house arrest as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, later told police he received bribes from a group of construction companies and shared the proceeds with politicians who are part of the ruling coalition. Parties in the coalition and building companies denied the allegations.

Rousseff said her government is allowing the investigation to proceed unencumbered. Petrobras’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a voice mail today seeking comment on the probe. Bloomberg

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