Brazilian police arrest former Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine on corruption charges


This file photo taken on December 15, 2015 shows then Petrobras President speaking during a working breakfast with foreign correspondents at the company headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, . (Photo by AFP)

Brazilian authorities have taken into custody former Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine on suspected corruption charges that include receiving large bribes from construction giant Odebrecht.
The office of Brazil’s  prosecutor-general announced on Thursday that federal police served three arrest warrants and carried out 11 search and seizure orders as part of the so-called Car Wash probe.
The investigation has entangled major company executives and senior politicians in the largest Latin American country.
According to the statement, Bendine demanded 17 million reais ($5.5 million) in bribes when he led Banco do Brasil in a bid to authorize the rollover of a loan to an Odebrecht unit, though the company refused to make good on the payment.
Shortly prior to taking over the leadership of Petrobras, it said, Bendine also sought payments of three million reais ($956,000) from Odebrecht so that it “would not be damaged by Petrobras” after the Car Wash corruption scandal came to light three years ago.
The arrest of Bendine is the latest police action stemming from plea bargains signed by executives from Odebrecht, which has admitted in a settlement with American and Brazilian prosecutors to disbursing bribes across 12 countries to win contracts.
According to the report, Bendine served as CEO of Petróleo Brasileiro SA, as the state-run oil company is formally recognized, between 2015 and 2016 and as CEO of state-owned lender Banco do Brasil SA from 2009 to 2015.
The company, according to the prosecutor general’s office, paid Bendine the three million reais in 2015, though it did not elaborate on what kind of “damage” Bendine allegedly offered to avert.
The statement by Brazil’s prosecutor’s office further noted that Bendine separately received yet another three million reais in 2017 from Odebrecht for unknown reasons after he left Petrobras.

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