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Company executives convicted in Brazil's Petrobras scandal

Published:Wednesday | July 22, 2015 | 7:00 AM

Three top officials of Brazil's Camargo Correa construction company have become the first business executives to be convicted in the corruption-kickback scandal engulfing state-run oil company Petrobras.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office said Judge Sergio Moro on Monday sentenced the three on charges of money laundering, corruption and racketeering. Moro is overseeing the investigation of Petrobras.

Dalton Avancini, Camargo Correa's chief executive officer; Eduardo Leite, the company's vice president; and Joao Auler, the company's chairman, were convicted on charges of money laundering, corruption and racketeering.

Also on Monday, federal police asked prosecutors to file charges against Marcelo Odebrecht, president of Brazil's largest construction firm, on charges of alleged involvement in the Petrobras scheme.

Odebrecht was arrested one month ago on charges of cartel formation, money laundering and diversion of public funds.

Prosecutors have said the scheme involved at least US$800 million in bribes and other illegal funds. Some of that money was allegedly funnelled back to the ruling Workers' Party and its allies' campaign coffers. It also allegedly included the payment of bribes to Petrobras executives in return for inflated contracts.

Petrobras is Brazil's biggest company and is in charge of tapping big offshore oil fields and creating wealth that leaders hope will propel the country to developed world status.