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UPDATE 1-Brazil police raid brokerage for allegedly laundering 'Car Wash' bribe cash
March 28, 2017 / 4:32 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil police raid brokerage for allegedly laundering 'Car Wash' bribe cash

(Adds details, name of former Petrobras executive arrested)

By Sergio Spagnolo

CURITIBA, Brazil, March 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal police on Tuesday raided a brokerage in Rio de Janeiro which they allege helped launder money for corrupt former executives of state-run oil firm Petrobras, as part of their sprawling “Car Wash” anti-graft probe.

Police said they searched the offices of the Advalor Distribuidora de Titulos e Valores brokerage firm in Rio, which they allege facilitated the movement of bribes from big construction firms to the then-Petrobras executives, often to their overseas bank accounts.

A person who answered the phone at Advalor’s Rio de Janeiro office did not respond to requests for comment.

Former Petrobras executive Roberto Goncalves was arrested in Tuesday’s operation on the order of federal judge Sergio Moro, who oversees Operation Car Wash.

Police allege Goncalves received at least $5 million in bribes paid into overseas bank accounts.

The arrest warrant issued by Moro states that Goncalves had at least five Swiss bank accounts. In just one of those, he received $3 million in bribes from construction giant Odebrecht, according to police.

Goncalves allegedly took bribes in connection with several projects, one of the largest being a contract awarded to a consortium composed of Odebrecht and UTC Engenharia for work on the Comperj refinery outside Rio de Janeiro.

He does not yet face any formal charges. Under Brazilian law, only prosecutors can level charges. The prosecutor’s office did not respond to request for comment about Goncalves’ case.

A lawyer for Goncalves could not immediately be reached. (Reporting by Sergio Spagnolo; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Phil Berlowitz)

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