SHARE

The man formerly in charge of Petrobras’ downstream operations was arrested Thursday for alleged links to a gang accused of laundering billions of dollars in illegal proceeds.

Paulo Roberto Costa was taken into custody by Brazil’s federal police.

The arrest occurred at Costa’s home, the police said.

He also faces charges of destroying evidence, the Latin American Herald Tribune said.

Costa opened a consulting firm after leaving the Petrobras, the state-owned oil giant.

Documents from the consulting firm that were destroyed allegedly linked him to the criminal gang, the report said.

“Unconfirmed press reports indicate Costa received a vehicle as a gift from the owner of a currency exchange house who was allegedly a member of the money-laundering ring,” the Latin American Herald Tribune said.

On Monday, 24 people were arrested in Brazil. The alleged criminal gang members are accused of laundering $4.35 billion in illicit proceeds.

The federal police, Congress, and the Attorney General’s Office are investigating alleged irregularities at Petrobras during Costa’s time with the company.

Allegations have also surfaced that Petrobras officials took about $130 million in bribes from Dutch rig leaser SBM Offshore in exchange for oil platform contracts.

And Petrobras’ acquisition of an oil refinery in Texas in 2006 is also under investigation.