RIO DE JANEIRO, One of Brazil’s wealthiest men and a member of country’s powerful ruling party were arrested Wednesday as part of a wide-reaching corruption investigation into the state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
Brazilian banker Andre Esteves and Sen. Delcidio do Amaral, a member of the Workers’ Party and the Senate whip, were arrested in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia respectively. Investigators said the men were conspiring to pay millions to bribe a witness in a vast corruption investigation into the oil company widely known as Petrobras. Investigators allege the men were planning to persuade former Petrobras executive Nestor Cervero from cutting a deal with investigators. Both men have denied involvement.
Officials said Petrobras executives accepted large bribes from several companies and channeled funds to political figures and the Workers’ party. Until now, the scandal mostly involved those directly connected to Petrobas.
President Dilma Rousseff has come under harsh criticism since the scandal was uncovered, with many calling for her resignation.