In yet another chapter of the ongoing Petrobras saga, the Brazilian oil giant has confirmed irregularities in the approval of a 2009 deal to provide petroleum products to Brazil-based Braskem.

According to Reuters, state owned Petrobras said in a securities filing that plea deal testimony given by former downstream executive Paulo Roberto Costa and alleged black-market money man Alberto Youssef prompted a probe into the contract.

The company has informed public prosecutors about the irregularity.

Brazil’s TV Globo reported over the weekend that the two men allege that Braskem paid a bribe in order to secure below market prices for napthta.

Naptha is a type of hydrocarbon product typically derived from heavy crude that be used as a fuel, a solvent and as an ingredient in other chemicals.

Costa added that the 2009 deal resulted in losses for Petrobras.

Braskem has denied any wrongdoing and told Reuters that an internal Petrobras report said “it was not possible … to identify a financial loss caused to Petrobras.”

Braskem, a chemical and petrochemical company focused on the production of thermoplastic resins, is a joint venture between Petrobras and Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Costa, the former director of Petrobras’ refining division, was charged with corruption in December, along Youssef, an alleged black-market currency dealer accused of handling bribe payments.

The former executive told a Brazilian court last year that several executives and firms conspired to inflate the price of Petrobras contracts and skim off the excess funds, with some of the funds allegedly landing in the coffers of Brazilian politicians.

Costa has also admitted to taking a $636,000 bribe in connection with Petrobras’ 2006 purchase of a Texas refinery.

In June, police arrested Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht SA, after allegations surfaced that his company participated in the bribery scheme.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was pulled into the probe last week after prosecutors alleged that  used his influence to help Odebrecht win overseas business after he left office.

In a statement to the press, the Lula Foundation said it believes the former president has done nothing wrong.


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