The entrance to the Petrobras headquarters in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazil’s state-owned oil major Petrobras said Thursday that it has recovered 1.034 billion reais ($274 million) in funds embezzled during a giant corruption scandal that badly damaged the company and upended Brazilian politics.
The funds were returned “through cooperation and leniency agreements signed with individuals and legal entities” by federal investigators and prosecutors from the massive graft probe known as operation “Car Wash,” Petrobras said in a statement.
This was the biggest restitution to the company in a single period since “Car Wash” got underway in 2014, Petrobras said. Funds recovered now exceed 2.5 billion reais.
Prosecutors found Petrobras was at the center of a web of pay-to-play schemes, embezzlement and bribery involving top business executives and politicians from all parties. Among those convicted for “Car Wash” crimes is former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, serving a 12-year-sentence for taking an apartment as a bribe.
Current President Michel Temer has been charged with corruption in a separate investigation linked to giant meatpacking company JBS.