Brazil lawmakers decline Rousseff Petrobras charges

GMT 04:57 2014 Friday ,19 December

Arab Today, arab today Brazil lawmakers decline Rousseff Petrobras charges

Activists hold signs during a protest
Brasília - AFP

A committee of lawmakers probing corruption allegations at Brazilian oil firm Petrobras said Thursday it would not recommend charges against President Dilma Rousseff or the oil giant's head, Graca Foster.
Though the congressional committee did not recommend charges against any politicians, it did name 52 people who should be prosecuted for suspected corruption.
The committee looked at allegations brought by opposition politicians who for months have tried to link Rousseff to the corruption scandal at Petrobras, saying she was aware of a kickback scheme at the state-owned oil company.
The Petrobras scandal erupted in March with the arrest of a former director who told investigators about a massive kickback scheme worth millions of dollars.
Dozens of people, mainly executives in the construction industry, have been accused of operating a cartel that inflated Petrobras contracts by up to six percent with illicit surcharges.
Several politicians from three parties, including Rousseff's Workers' Party, in power for 12 years, have been implicated in the scandal, but none have been formally charged.
Police estimate some $4 billion was stolen in a decade.
Most of those recommended for charges by the congressional commission Thursday had already been named, including two former Petrobras directors accused of taking bribes.
The report was approved by the government majority.
Lawmakers put aside allegations against Rousseff when she was Petrobras chair in 2006 and the firm purchased a refinery in Pasadena, Texas. Critics say the company paid far more for the refinery than it was worth.
The report found that the Pasadena purchase had damaged Petrobras, costing the firm some $660 million.

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