A Brazilian court has ordered the seizure of $655m worth of assets from two of the most prominent engineering firms caught up in the Petrobras graft scandal, according to Reuters.
Assets of the firms – Odebrecht and OAS – and of individual executives are targeted in what the authorities say is an attempt to recoup at least some of the money lost in the corruption scheme that saw numerous contractors bribe officials at the state oil firm Petrobras in return for over-inflated contracts.
In Petrobras’ own accounts the cost of the graft was more than $2bn, which many observers feel is a conservative estimate.
The graft scheme also involved kickbacks to politicians to look the other way or grease the wheels. It is such a vast scandal that it has damaged the national economy and disrupted government.
Since the scandal broke Odebrecht has laid off thousands of staff, been barred from bidding for Petrobras contracts and seen its former CEO sentenced to more than 19 years in prison.