2 Brazilian executives arrested in graft inquiry
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.