Former Senator Gim Argello was arrested in Brasília on Tuesday (Apr. 12) as part of stage 28 of Operation Car Wash. He is suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for political support in congressional inquiries investigating corruption at Petrobras.
According to the Federal Prosecution Office at Paraná (MPF-PR), Argello's arrest was authorized after investigators collected evidence that he was paid $1.42 million in kickbacks by UTC engineering contractor, according to a plea bargaining statement from another target of Operation Car Wash, UTC executive Ricardo Pessoa.
Argello has allegedly told Pessoa to channel payments in the guise of political campaign donations to the national committees of four parties designated by him—DEM, PR, PMN and PRTB. In 2014, the parties were in a coalition with PTB, the party under which the former senator was seeking re-election. Prosecutors say they found receipts of the deposits made into the parties' accounts.
Another piece of evidence against the former senator was found in a mobile phone owned by OAS construction company's executive Léo Pinheiro, which was seized as part of stage 7 of Operation Car Wash. Moreover, messages exchanged with the CEO of Andrade Gutiérrez construction company mentioned a $100,000 payment to a church Argello used to go to. The money is believed to be related to a Petrobras refinery project in Pernambuco state. Prosecutors reported having collected other evidence of kickback payments.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.