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Brazil ruling party treasurer arrested in widening corruption inquiry

Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 00:47

The treasurer of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party is arrested in a widening corruption inquiry focusing on the state-run oil company Petrobras. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Brazilian police on Wednesday arrested the treasurer of the ruling Workers' Party Joao Vaccari, moving an investigation of rampant corruption at state-run oil company Petrobras closer to President Dilma Rousseff's inner circle. Federal police said they arrested Vaccari in his home in Sao Paulo and drove him to the southern city of Curitiba. There he will stand trial for alleged graft, political kickbacks and money laundering, the latest prominent Brazilian caught up in a multibillion-dollar probe. Vaccari's arrest could bring the investigation closer to the president if the money allegedly siphoned from the oil firm, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, is found to have helped finance her 2010 or 2014 election campaigns. The Workers' Party deplored the arrest and announced that Vaccari was leaving his position for legal reasons. A party statement expressed confidence in his innocence. Federal judge Sergio Moro ordered Vaccari's arrest after five defendants testified in plea bargain agreements that engineering firms hired by Petrobras had overcharged the oil firm and passed on profits to the Workers' Party via Vaccari. Vaccari, indicted on March 16, is the closest political figure to Rousseff to be jailed in the year-old Petrobras scandal. The investigation threw her government into a crisis at the start of her second term this year when it widened to include 47 politicians, all but one from her governing coalition. Former Petrobras executives have said Vaccari moved over $200 million in graft money skimmed off overpriced construction and engineering contracts. Vaccari denied the accusations last week before a congressional inquiry commission. He and the Workers' Party say all campaign donations from the construction and engineering companies were legal and registered with electoral authorities.

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Brazil ruling party treasurer arrested in widening corruption inquiry

Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 00:47