San Francisco: The corruption scandal swirling around Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant Petrobras could be about to thrust one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), further into the spotlight.
Brazilian lobbyist Fernando Soares, who is implicated in the alleged graft and money-laundering scheme, on Thursday was allowed by the presiding judge to call overseas witnesses, among them SHI personnel.
Prosecutors maintain Soares was a middleman for alleged bribes paid by the South Korean firm when Petrobras acquired drillships from SHI in 2006 and 2007. SHI were mentioned in charges against four Petrobras executives late last year but nobody from the shipbuilder has been charged yet.
The investigation, known as “Operation Car Wash”, looks set to widen after Brazil’s top prosecutor asked the Supreme Court earlier this week to open investigations into 54 people, believed to be mainly politicians accused of benefiting from the multibillion-dollar kickback scheme.