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Brazil police target Rio money laundering in corruption probe
February 23, 2017 / 11:22 AM / 9 months ago

Brazil police target Rio money laundering in corruption probe

SAO PAULO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Brazilian police made two arrests and carried out 15 search warrants in the state of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday in the latest phase of a sweeping investigation into corruption at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Federal police said in a statement the principal target of the day’s operation were two alleged money launderers involved in funneling payments to senior executives at Petrobras, as the company is known. The statement did not name the suspects.

The sprawling, three-year-old graft probe, named Operation Car Wash after its origins at a gas station in the capital Brasilia, has uncovered at least 6.4 billion reais ($2.1 billion) in bribes for contracts with state-run enterprises.

Dozens of senior executives and powerful politicians have been caught up in the investigation, including former Rio governor Sergio Cabral, who was arrested in November and now faces charges of corruption and money laundering.

Prosecutors have accused Cabral of leading a criminal organization that took 224 million reais in bribes from construction firms in exchange for infrastructure contracts from 2007 to 2014, when he was serving as governor.

Cabral’s lawyers have denied he has committed any crimes.

$1 = 3.06 reais Reporting by Brad Haynes and Eduardo Simoes; Editing by Mark Potter

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