Key moments in Brazil corruption probe

  • World
  • Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016

(Reuters) - Brazilian police said on Monday they obtained an arrest warrant for the architect of President Dilma Rousseff's electoral campaigns, complicating her fight to survive an investigation into her 2014 re-election and stave off impeachment by Congress.

The investigation of campaigner Joمo Santana, known as "the maker of presidents" in Latin America, is part of Brazil's largest-ever corruption investigation, which focuses on state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras).

Below are key moments of the investigation.

March 20, 2014

Federal police arrest the former head of Petrobras' refining and supply department, Paulo Roberto Costa, the result of an investigation that started when they noticed Costa had been given a Range Rover car by convicted black-market money changer Alberto Youssef.

Aug. 22, 2014

Costa signs a plea bargain deal with prosecutors, agreeing to explain the corruption scheme and name beneficiaries in exchange for a lighter sentence. Plea bargain deals become a cornerstone of the investigation.

Nov. 14, 2014

Federal police arrest 18 people, including former Petrobras engineering and services director Renato Duque and senior engineering executives, in the first broad raid of the investigation.

Dec. 11, 2014

Prosecutors in Curitiba formally charge 36 people, 22 of them from engineering firms OAS [OAS.UL] [OAEP.UL], Camargo Correa [PMORRC.UL], UTC Engenharia, Galvao Engenharia [QGDI.UL], Mendes Junior and Engevix. Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol declares war on corruption in Brazil in a nationally televised press conference.

Dec. 29, 2014

Petrobras bans 23 suppliers cited in the investigation from bidding on tenders. As of Dec. 2 2015, thirty-two firms had been banned.

Feb. 6, 2015

Aldir Bendine, former head of state-run Banco do Brasil SA, steps in as Petrobras chief executive after Maria das Graças Foster and other senior executives resign abruptly.

March 6, 2015

Brazil's Supreme Court says it will investigate the speakers of both houses of Congress and 32 other sitting politicians in connection with the Petrobras scheme.

April 15, 2016

Brazilian police arrest the treasurer of the ruling Workers' Party, Joمo Vaccari, moving the investigation closer to Rousseff's inner circle. Vaccari resigns to focus on his defence.

April 28, 2015

After lawyers fiercely contest the legality of lengthy pre-trial jailings in Curitiba, the Supreme Court overrules federal judge Sergio Moro and orders nine executives to be released to house arrest.

May 26, 2015

Nestor Cervero, former international director of Petrobras, is sentenced to five years in jail for money laundering.

June 19, 2015

Brazilian police arrest the CEO of the country's largest construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht, head of family-run conglomerate Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL]. They also arrest Otavio Marques Azevedo, CEO of builder Andrade Gutierrez [AGIS.UL]. Prosecutors say the companies may have led a cartel of engineering firms.

June 24, 2015

Police intercept a note from Marcelo Odebrecht to his lawyers asking to "destroy email." Odebrecht's lawyers say there was nothing criminal about his intent.

July 14, 2015

Federal police carry out search and seizure operations at the home of Senator and former President Fernando Collor de Mello, the first such operation targeting a sitting politician.

July 16, 2015

In a separate investigation, federal prosecutors open a formal inquiry into whether former President Luiz Inلcio Lula da Silva improperly used his connections overseas to benefit Odebrecht after leaving office.

July 20, 2015

Three executives of Brazil's Camargo Correa group are convicted of money laundering, corruption and other charges, the first construction-industry executives to be sentenced in the investigation. The CEO's sentence is reduced from 16 years in prison to a year of house arrest because of his plea deal.

July 28, 2015

Police arrest two executives involved in building a nuclear power plant for state-run utility Eletrobras. "Operation Radioactivity" focussed on Eletrobras' Eletronuclear division, which is building a third nuclear-power reactor at Angra dos Reis, west of Rio de Janeiro.

July 29, 2015

Prosecutors say Renato Duque, former head of Petrobras' corporate services division, unfairly favored Italy's Saipem SpA on a contract for an undersea gas pipeline. Prosecutors say more than a dozen foreign firms are thought to have bribed Petrobras executives.

Aug. 3, 2015

Police arrest former government minister Jose Dirceu, one of the most senior members of the ruling Workers' Party. Dirceu was Lula's chief of staff from 2003 to 2005.

Aug. 6, 2015

Prosecutors present formal charges against Jorge Zelada, the former head of Petrobras' international division, saying he favored U.S. company Vantage Drilling in a rig contract. Hsin Chi Su, chief executive of Taiwanese shipping firm TMT, was also charged.

Aug. 20, 2015

Prosecutors in Brasilia charge the speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, with taking a $5 million (£3.5 million) bribe related to two drillships contracts. Cunha, who broke with Rousseff's government, fiercely denies the accusations. Unspecified charges are made against Collor.

Aug. 21, 2015

Prosecutors say Camargo Corrêa agreed to pay 700 million reais (£125.2 million) to compensate state-run companies for damages related to bribery and price-fixing as part of a leniency agreement also signed with antitrust regulator CADE.

Sept. 30, 2015

Switzerland provides Brazilian prosecutors with Swiss bank accounts in Cunha's name.

Nov. 16, 2015

Prosecutors say they have evidence that bribes were paid as part of Petrobras' $1.2 billion purchase of Pasadena Refining Systems Inc in 2006.

Nov. 24, 2015

Police arrest Jose Carlos Bumlai, a powerful rancher and friend of Lula, bringing their investigation to the country's cane and agriculture sector.

Nov. 25, 2015

Police jail Senator Delcidio do Amaral and the chief executive of Brazil's biggest independent investment bank on suspicion of obstructing the investigation. The unprecedented arrests of Amaral, President Rousseff's point man in the Senate, and billionaire banker Andre Esteves, CEO of BTG Pactual SA, sent shockwaves through Brazil and paralysed Congress.

Jan. 29

Prosecutors in Sao Paulo call Lula and his wife to testify in a money-laundering investigation of beachfront apartments that may have been used as bribes. The testimony was later suspended.

Feb. 22

Police say they have obtained a warrant to arrest campaign adviser Joمo Santana. They also say they are investigating contracts with Petrobras, Sete Brasil, and Keppel Fels, the Brazil unit of Singapore's oil rig builder Keppel Corporation.

(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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