Updated 10:25 AM EDT, Thu, Jun 04, 2020

[Update] Petrobras Corruption Inquiry

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The ever-widening corruption investigation at the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras ensnared yet another prominent Brazilian.

This time it is businessman José Carlos Bumlai, he was arrested yesterday during Operation Lava Jato and charged with money laundering, fraud and corruption according to published reports in the leading Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paolo.

The allegation is that he was part of a corruption conspiracy at Petrobras that funneled money to the governing Workers' Party (PT as it is known in Brazil).

According to prosecutors, Bumlai allegedly took a loan out in 2004 of more than $10 million realis (US$2.1 million) from Schahin bank. The money was siphoned to the PT. The loan was not repaid.

Prosecutors allege that Bumali made an arrangement in 2009 with Schahin, which has operations in the engineering sector, that saw the bank forgive the debt in a quid pro quo for a more than a billion-dollar drilling contract with Petrobras.

In addition to Bumlai, more than half a dozen people were charged, including his son and daughter-in-law, former Petrobras directors and managers, former PT treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto, Schanhin banking executives and a lobbyist, Fernando Soares.

Bumlai is a friend of former president Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, he is also not the first associate of the former president to be questioned or charged in the Petrobras corruption inquiry. Lula has not been charged with a crime. And prosecutors have said there is no proof he knew or was involved in the deal.

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