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Tuesday
Jun302015

Former Petrobras exec alleges bribes from Singapore shipbuilders

Petrobras executive Pedro Barusco (Image courtesy of Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr)Former Petrobras director Pedro Barusco told a Brazilian court that a group of shipbuilding companies, including Keppel FELS and Jurong Shipyard, paid brides to win contracts with Sete Brasil.

Sete Brasil is a state-owned shipbuilder established to provide vessel’s to Brazil’s Petrobras.

Barusco, who also served as the director of Sete Brasil, alleged that the companies paid bribes to Sete through intermediaries in an effort to win contracts for 21 deepwater drilling vessels worth about $800 million apiece.

Sembcorp Marine, the parent company of Jurong Shipyard, has denied any wrongdoing and said it prohibits bribery.

Keppel FELS told Bloomberg it “strongly” refutes the allegations and said that the company’s policies prohibit bribery and all other types of corruption.

Keppel said its employees are required to follow the laws of the country they are operating in.

Brazilian police arrested Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of construction firm Odebrecht SA, after allegations surfaced that his company participated in the bribery scheme.

Lead prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Limas said he has “no doubt” that Odebrecht and other executives were running a “cartel” that systematically inflated the price of Petrobras contracts and skimmed off excess funds.

No formal charges have been filed yet against Odebrecht.

Barsuco also alleged that a shipbuilding consortium that included Kawasaki Heavy Industries paid bribes to secure contracts with Sete.

Police have detained the chief executive officers of Kawasaki’s partners for questioning as part of the Petrobras probe, Bloomberg said.

Kawasaki said it is looking into the matter.

No charges have been filed.

In March, Barsuco admitted using several Swiss bank accounts to launder a portion of an estimated $100 million in bribes.

Barusco said he received bribes from 1997 to 2010 while at Petrobras and continued accepting money until his three-year tenure at Sete ended in 2013.

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Nicolas Torres is a reporter for Petro Global News, where a version of this post first appeared.