Court ‘blocks Odebrecht from Petrobras tenders’

A Brazilian court has reportedly ruled to block Odebrecht Oil & Gas (OOG) from participating in tender contracts offered by state-run oil company Petrobras due to the country’s ongoing massive corruption investigation it is allegedly involved in.

In December 2014, as corruption allegations amid the country’s richest business leaders were increasing, Petrobras suspended 23 oil companies that were suspected of corrupt dealings, including OOG – the oil and gas unit of construction giant Odebrecht.

However, last month Odebrecht was awarded an injunction against Petrobras’ decision that would have allowed the group to bid for contracts.

On Tuesday, the court revoked the decision to allow OOG to participate in the bidding process, pending results from the Operation Car Wash corruption probe, according to reports in local Brazilian media.

Petrobras said “investigations show possible involvement of OOG” in corrupt dealings, local reports said.

“As a result, the court found that Petrobras was right to make and maintain the current interim lock until the investigations are completed,” Petrobras said.

Odebrecht was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Upstream due to the time difference.

Odebrecht and Petrobras are at the centre of Brazil’s largest-ever corruption scandal, which, so far, has seen several of Brazil’s business leaders jailed.

In recent months, Odebrecht’s chief executive Marcelo Odebrecht submitted himself to a plea bargaining process in which he promised full disclosure about his knowledge of corruption in Brazilian contracting practices.

Odebrecht was detained last year for paying more than $30 million in bribes to Petrobras executives and was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment in March, but a plea bargaining deal has remained available to him.