Brazil’s former finance minister arrested, charged with fraud, money laundering

BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept. 22 (UPI) — Brazil’s former finance minister, Guido Mantega, was arrested Thursday for allegedly overpricing construction contracts as part of the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Officials are investigating Mantega on allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal association and money laundering. Mantega served as finance minister under former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Business tycoon Eike Batista, owner of construction companies Mendes Junior and OSX and once one of Brazil’s richest men, was also arrested on Thursday in relation to the bribery scheme, O Globo reports.

Mantega is accused of taking a $5 million bribe from Batista for the Brazil’s Workers’ Party. In return, Mantega offered Batista’s companies allegedly overpriced contracts to construct two oil exploration platforms even though the companies “possessed experience, structure and preparation to” construct the platforms without the need to spend the allocated amount, Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

Lula da Silva and Rousseff led the Workers’ Party during their administrations. On Tuesday, a Brazilian judge ordered Lula da Silva, who served as president of Brazil from 2003 until 2010, to stand trial on corruption and money-laundering charges related to the Petrobras scandal. Rousseff was impeached last month over allegations she broke campaign finance laws.

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