San Francisco: The prominent CEOs of two major Brazilian firms were arrested by police on Friday as part of the Petrobras graft investigation.
Marcelo Odebrecht, head of Odebrecht SA construction and engineering firm, was picked up in a dawn raid at his home. Police accuse his family-run conglomerate of spearheading a $2.1 billion bribery scheme at state-run oil firm Petrobras.
Otavio Azevedo, president of the Andrade Gutierrez building firm was also picked up in pre-dawn raids that netted 12 arrests in four states.
Prosecutors say Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez led a “cartel” that overcharged Petrobras for work and passed on the excess funds to executives and politicians.
Odebrecht is known to have ties to former President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, an association that could bring the scandal closer to the political heart of the ruling Worker’s Party.