A prominent member of Brazil’s Senate and the head of a top investment bank there have both been arrested in dramatic development of the Petrobras bribes-for-contracts scandal.
Senator Delcidio do Amaral, leader of the ruling Workers Party in the Senate, and Andre Esteves CEO of BTG Pactual were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the investigation into Brazil’s state oil giant, a probe known as Operation Car Wash.
Senator Amaral is the first sitting Senator to be arrested. Esteves is the billionaire boss of the country’s biggest independent investment bank.
The two are accused of being co-conspirators in a plot to undermine Operation Car Wash by paying prosecution witness Nestor Cervero – Petrobras’ former international director, already sentenced to 12 years jail for his role in the corruption scandal – to omit their names from his testimony. They also allegedly plotted to abet Cervero in escaping custody and fleeing the country to Spain.
Senator do Amaral’s cabinet chief, Diogo Ferreira was also arrested.