BRASILIA, Sept 5 Brazil on Monday banned IESA
Oil & Gas from government work for paying bribes, the
third construction and engineering company barred in the massive
graft and political kickbacks scandal involving contracts with
state oil company Petrobras.
The Ministry of Transparency, Brazil's primary
anti-corruption agency, said IESA would not be able to bid for
new government contracts for at least two years, and lifting the
ban will depend on repayment of losses to Petrobras.
Brazilian builder Mendes Junior Engenharia was
barred from bidding for government contracts in April and the
local unit of Swedish construction company Skanska AB
was banned in May.
All of the banned companies have denied wrongdoing. Skanska,
the world's No. 5 construction firm, has challenged the Brazil
government decision to ban its subsidiary from new contracts.
The ministry said in a statement that IESA took part in a
cartel that fixed prices on contracts with Petróleo Brasileiro
SA, as the state-led oil company is formally called.
It said IESA used a fictitious consultancy contract to pay
bribes to Paulo Roberto Costa, the former Petrobras director of
refining and supply who was arrested in March 2014 at the start
of the corruption investigation dubbed "Operation Car Wash" by
Brazilian police. Costa admitted involvement in the graft
Dozens of construction company executives have been arrested
in the probe and some 50 politicians are under investigation in
a scandal that has shaken Brazil's political establishment to
the core and contributed to the impeachment of former president
Dilma Rousseff who was removed from office last week.
IESA representatives did not immediately respond to requests
Of the 29 companies investigated for involvement in the
bribery scheme, three have been banned and nine are negotiating
leniency deals that require recognition of guilt and repayment
of damages, a ministry spokesman said. Accusations against three
others have been dropped.
The ministry had been called the Comptroller General's
office, but was renamed by the new government of President
Michel Temer, who has vowed to crack down on corruption in
Brazil. His government, however, has been hit by corruption
allegations that have forced three cabinet minister to resign.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, editing by G Crosse)