The Petrobras scandal inquiry edged ever nearer the top of the country’s political totem pole on Monday as Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered two high ranking Cabinet ministers be placed under investigation, according to various news agencies and newspapers in Brazil and Argentina.
Aloizio Mercadante, chief of staff to embattled President Dilma Rousseff, and Edinho Silva who is Institutional Communications minister, were both implicated by a previously arrested executive, say the reports. An opposition Senator, Aloysio Nunes of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), will also be investigated.
The Petrobras affair is a giant alleged graft scheme with the state oil firm at its hub. It involved a widespread web of bribes-for-rigged-contracts, mainly for engineering or construction businesses.
Much of the money found its way to the pockets of company executives and politicians, while the overpricing of contracts is estimated by Petrobras’ own accounts in April to have cost it almost $2bn.
The scandal and its effects have been a huge drag on the nation’s economy and morale. Rousseff has been subject of much speculation as the so-called “Car Wash” inquiry into the scandal has unfolded because she was chairwoman of Petrobras from 2003-2010 when much of the alleged criminality was happening.