2 Brazil­ian ex­ec­u­tives ar­rested in graft in­quiry

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD - By Vin­cent Bevins

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Po­lice ar­rested the heads of Brazil’s two largest con­struc­tion com­pa­nies Fri­day, as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar cor­rup­tion scheme in­volv­ing state­con­trolled oil com­pany Petro­bras, which has rocked the gov­ern­ment and econ­omy since last year, pushes fur­ther to­ward the top of the coun­try’s cor­po­rate world.

Marcelo Ode­brecht and Otavio Mar­ques, pres­i­dents of con­struc­tion com­pa­nies bear­ing their names, were ar­rested and fed­eral po­lice said 21 war­rants had been is­sued for em­ploy­ees of the two firms. Author­i­ties said they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing cor­rup­tion, em­bez­zle­ment of public fi­nances, money laun­der­ing and rack­e­teer­ing.

Ode­brecht is the largest con­struc­tion com­pany in Latin Amer­ica.

The so-called Car Wash in­ves­ti­ga­tion has slowly out­lined the con­tours of a vast scheme in which bil­lions of dol­lars were al­legedly di­verted from Petro­bras to large con­struc­tion firms, which then passed on pay­ments to po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

As the in­quiry ex­panded this year, Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff ’s ap­proval rat­ings have dropped and growth has stalled. Bevins is a spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent.

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