Federal Police launched stage 31 of Operation Car Wash Monday (Jul. 4). Dubbed “Abyss”, the spin-off operation investigates embezzlement in connection with bidding for a project to renovate Petrobras's Research and Development Center (CENPES) in Rio de Janeiro, which conducts studies on deepwater oil exploration.
One of the targets of the operation is former Workers' Party (PT) treasurer Paulo Adalberto Alves Ferreira, who has been jailed in São Paulo since June 23 as a result of the Federal Police Operation “Brazil Cost”.
Operation “Abyss” was carried out in collaboration with the Federal Revenue Service, which marshaled 20 of its staffers to support the efforts of 110 police officers in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and the Federal District. The investigation targets corruption, money laundering, and bid rigging, in a scheme that inflicted consistent losses on Petrobras's coffers through illegal payments to Petrobras employees and political parties.
Established over 40 years ago, CENPES has recently been expanded and upgraded to meet the requirements of pre-salt oil exploration. The renovation project has been brought up before in plea bargaining statements, cited as a source of embezzled public money paid to political parties.
According to the Federal Prosecution Service chapter in Paraná, businesses in the Novo CENPES consortium—comprised of such contractors as OAS, Carioca Engenharia, Construbase Engenharia, Schahin Engenharia, and Construcap Engenharia—have colluded to form a big cartel set up to fix prices and rig tenders for the Petrobras research center project.
Following a leniency deal signed by Carioca Engenharia and plea bargaining statements heard from its top executives, the Operation Car Wash task force gathered evidence that $5.6 million was paid to see that WTorre Engenharia, the winning bidder with the lowest price offer, pull out of the tender and make way for Novo CENPES consortium. The consortium signed a nearly $263 million contract with Petrobras and doctored invoices to embezzle corporate money.
The wrongdoing occurred between 2007 and 2012 within the Petrobras Services division, then headed by Renato Duque, who is in custody over prior Operation Car Wash charges. In a statement to the operation task force, Pedro Barusco, former Petrobras Engineering manager, said 2% of the contract price for the CENPES renovation project was funneled in kickbacks to Duque and the Workers' Party.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.