Brazil Prepares Indictments in Oil Company Graft Case

In pressing ahead with the case, Rodrigo Janot, the prosecutor general, is opening the way for a trial that would focus scrutiny on growing testimony about a web of illicit dealings between former executives at Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, powerful contractors and political figures in Ms. Rousseff_s government.

_We are following the money and we will reach all of these perpetrators,_ Mr. Janot said Saturday night in an interview with the Globo television network.

The scandal, which involves claims of bribes to obtain contracts with Petrobras, stunned Brazil_s business establishment in November, when police arrested the executives and transferred them to a jail in the southern city of Curitiba. If testimony already obtained in the case is proven true, the case would dwarf previous corruption scandals in Brazil.

In a country where business executives rarely spend time in jail, corporate leaders including Jos__ Adelm__rio Pinheiro Filho, the chief executive of the construction giant OAS, and Dalton dos Santos Avancini and Jo__o Ricardo Auler, top executives at Camargo Corr__a, a rival construction group, have awaited their fate in the Curitiba jail since the mid-November arrests.

Disclosures at each step in the case are shaking Petrobras, Brazil_s largest corporation, while opening Ms. Rousseff, the president and a former energy minister and the company_s former board chairwoman, to claims of responsibility for, at the very least, lax oversight.

Pedro Barusco, once an obscure, third-tier executive at Petrobras, has agreed to return about $100 million in bribes related to his time at the company, a disclosure that could rank him among the largest known bribery recipients in Brazil_s history. Separately, Augusto Mendon_a, an executive at Toyo Setal, a shipbuilding company, testified last week that he paid more than $23 million in bribes directly to the governing Workers Party and to Petrobras executives in exchange for contracts to build oil tankers.

A new opinion survey released on Sunday by Datafolha, a prominent Brazilian polling company, showed that 68 percent of Brazilians hold Ms. Rousseff responsible for the bribery scandal. At the same time, Ms. Rousseff, who narrowly won re-election in October, has an approval rating of 42 percent, the survey showed. The poll, conducted in 2,896 interviews on Dec. 2 and 3, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Mr. Janot, the prosecutor general, came under pressure over the weekend after a report in the magazine Isto _ claimed he had offered the contractors a deal in which they would accept responsibility for some illicit activities while effectively shielding Ms. Rousseff_s government from coming under greater legal scrutiny over bribery claims.

In a statement, Mr. Janot did not explicitly refer to the magazine article, but said he would resist attempts to discredit the investigations of those involved in the bribery scandal. He added that he would comply with his constitutional duty to independently examine testimony and evidence in the case under Brazilian law.

Correction: December 7, 2014
An earlier version of a web summary with this article misspelled the name of the president of Brazil. She is Dilma Rousseff, not Rouseff.


New York Times | By SIMON ROMERO

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