“Oil Scandal Erupts Again As Brazilians Near Elections”
The New York Times, September 8, 2014, p.A4
“As Brazilians prepare to vote in a national election next month, a scandal involving the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras flared up again this weekend over testimony that implicated dozens of top figures in President Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition in a vast kickback scheme. Details of the scheme were revealed in confidential testimony by Paulo Roberto Costa, a jailed former executive who oversaw refining operations at Petrobras until 2012. The testimony was obtained by Veja, a Brazilian magazine. The accusations target Ms. Rousseff’s energy minister, Edison Lobão, and the leaders of both houses of Congress, Henrique Eduardo Alves and Renan Calheiros. The revelations complicate a tough re-election bid by Ms. Rousseff, who has seen her lead in the polls vanish amid the surging candidacy of Marina Silva, an environmental leader whose campaign has blasted Ms. Rousseff over corruption at Petrobras and called on Brazil to shift toward a greater reliance on renewable energy sources. The election is scheduled for Oct. 5. … Mr. Costa was arrested in March after investigators said they had discovered a money-laundering operation that he had helped oversee as one of the most powerful executives at Petrobras from 2004 to 2012. Brazilian prosecutors said they discovered that Mr. Costa had kept about $23 million in Swiss bank accounts after profiting from the scheme. … Political figures — including three governors, the energy minister and more than 30 legislators — then benefited by receiving 3 percent of the value of the contracts, the report said, citing his testimony.”
Quickie Analysis: State-run energy companies seem to be an irresistible honey pot for politicians the world over.