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Brazil prosecutors seek US$2b from Odebrecht, Petrobras executives

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Brazilian prosecutors late on Saturday accused executives from construction conglomerate Odebrecht and state-run oil company Petrobras of misconduct and demanded they pay 7.3 billion reais (S$2.74 billion) in damages.

[BRASILIA] Brazilian prosecutors late on Saturday accused executives from construction conglomerate Odebrecht and state-run oil company Petrobras of misconduct and demanded they pay 7.3 billion reais (S$2.74 billion) in damages.

Prosecutors accused Odebrecht of paying bribes to win multibillion-dollar contracts with Petrobras as part of a corruption scheme that implicated dozens of politicians and top executives.

Odebrecht is currently under investigation for its involvement in the graft and influence-peddling scandal at Petrobras known as "Operation Car Wash."

Family member Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht, who ran the company from 2008 until recent months, was sentenced on Tuesday to about 19 years in prison in connection with the scandal.

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In a written statement, the prosecutors of the task force investigating the scheme said they had evidence that Odebrecht paid bribes to win contracts at the oil refineries Getulio Vargas and Abreu e Lima as well in a Rio de Janeiro petrochemical plant and the Gasduc gas pipeline.

Odebrecht said in a statement it was surprised by the accusations, saying the compensation values were "inconsistent."

"Any hypothetical requirement arising from the case depends on due process, with decisions of all competent courts" said the statement, adding Odebrecht's construction arm, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht, would respond to the accusations.

The scandal has undercut Odebrecht's access to financing, and the group, which has more than a dozen business units, is seeking to ease a swelling debt burden.

REUTERS

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