Former Petrobras chief sentenced to more than 12 years

A former Petrobras executive was give a prison sentence of more than 12 years by a Brazilian judge on Monday, for his role in arranging bribery payments from Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).

Nestor Cervero had been the director of international operations for Petrobras before the corruption probe, known as Car Wash, started exposing the deep and widespread levels of graft and price fixing associated with the state-run oil firm and many of its contractors, both Brazilian and foreign.

Others, including lobbyists and consultants, were also sentenced in connection with the same case.

In this case the bribery was in exchange for two drillship contracts for SHI.

Cervero had already been sentenced to five years jail in May for money laundering

The essence of the broader scandal saw Petrobras officials allegedly colluding with construction and engineering firms to inflate the value of contracts. The kickbacks were then funnelled to politicians and company executives.

Petrobras’ financial report in April estimated that the corruption had cost the firm nearly $2 billion. But the damage to Brazil’s reputation and wider economy may be greater than that as firms associated with the affair have been hampered in subsequent efforts to raise capital.

Most of the corruption is believed to have happened between 2003 and 2010.

Fallout from the scandal continues as huge protests in Brazil at the weekend saw crowds calling for the impeachment of national president Dilma Rousseff who was chairman of the Petrobras board at the time of the alleged graft.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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