Brazilian prosecutors filed five federal lawsuits against six construction companies Friday for $1.55 billion in damages tied to alleged corruption at state-owned Petrobras.
Lawsuits have been filed against Brazil-based Camargo Correa, Japan-based Sanko, Brazil-based Mendes Junior Engenharia, Brazil-based OAS, Brazil-based Galvao Engenharia and Brazil-based Engevix Engenharia.
The suits also name 13 subsidiaries of the six companies and 28 executives as defendants, Reuters said.
Camargo Correa and Sanko are being sued together and the other four companies are being sued individually.
Prosecutors are looking to recover a combined $110 million in lost state funds along with $1.11 billion in damages and a $333 million civil penalty from the companies.
The lawsuits also seek to ban the companies from winning government business, tax benefits or loans from state-owned banks.
Engevix told Reuters it will take steps to deal with the allegations as soon as its lawyers are officially notified of the suit.
Sanko denied any wrongdoing and said it never directly sold any products to Petrobras, the Financial Times said.
The other companies have not commented on the lawsuits yet.
Prosecutors said 16 construction and engineering companies formed a cartel that allowed them to “defraud the public auction process related to some of the projects tendered by Petrobras between 2004 and 2014, increasing the profits of the companies by hundreds of millions of reais.”
Former Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster resigned her post along with five other executives earlier this month amid an ongoing corruption probe into the company that has already landed three former executives in jail.
In September, former Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa admitted to taking a $636,000 bribe in connection with the company’s 2006 purchase of a Texas refinery.
Costa alleges executives were skimming as much as 3 percent off the price of contracts and giving the money to political organizations, including campaigns run by transportation chief and politician Sergio Machado.
Machado has denied any wrongdoing.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have also reportedly opened up investigations into the company although the two agencies have not commented on the mater.
The scale of the corruption is still unknown although Brazilian authorities have claimed kickback and bribery schemes could have diverted anywhere between $3.7 billion to $28 billion from the company.