Petrobras: Duque, Vaccari get long jail terms

22 September 2015, News Wires – Former Petrobras director Renato Duque and ex-ruling party treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto have been slapped with lengthy jail terms for their part in the huge corruption scandal unearthed at the Brazilian state oil giant.

petrobrasDuque, formerly director of engineering services at the Rio de Janeiro-based player, was given 20 years and eight months by Federal Judge Sergio Moro.

Vaccari, who was once a key figure in the ruling Workers’ Party of President Dilma Rousseff, was handed a jail term of 15 years and four months as part of the Operation Car Wash investigation into historical corruption at Petrobras.

Judge Moro said Duque had, at the behest of Vaccari, made 24 payments totalling 4.2 million reais ($1.05 million) to the political party between 2008 and 2010.

Vaccari was found guilty of taking bribes between 2008 and 2012, including in the form of campaign donations from oilfield services company Toyo Setal.

Both defendants have denied the charges and are likely to appeal the sentences.

Operation Car Wash started as a money-laundering case in the state of Parana but former Petrobras director Paulo Roberto Costa was unexpectedly snared by a phone tap and agreed to a plea bargain deal.

The scheme — revealed by Costa and corroborated by scores of similar plea bargain deals — consisted of a cartel of well-known domestic contractors, which, for at least a decade, had been carving up Petrobras business by paying bribes to corrupt directors and their political patrons, through a network of middle-men and overseas accounts.

As more information came to light, Petrobras came to the view that the bribes had ciphoned off about $3 billion from the company’s business.

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