The judge leading the Petrobras corruption probe ruled on Thursday that Brazil’s former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci should stand trial, according to Reuters.
Judge Sergio Moro said there was enough evidence to put Palocci on trial for corruption and money laundering in regard to his allegedly conspiring with engineering giant Odebrecht to pay $39.5m in bribes to the Workers Party and other politicians.
The Petrobras affair involved the payment of at least $2bn in bribes from contractors in return for inflated contracts with Brazil’s state oil company. Kickbacks were also paid to politicians to help smooth the process.
Palocci, who was Finance Minister from January 2003 to March 2006, has been held in jail since late September.
He was a major player in the rise to power of the Workers Party but now many of its leading lights have been tarnished by the scandal – including former national president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is accused of masterminding the graft scheme.