Image courtesy of Petrobras.

Brazilian prosecutors alleged Wednesday that former Petrobras executive Renato Duque accepted bribes from a Saipem representative in exchange for giving the company favorable treatment during a contract auction.

According to Reuters, prosecutors claim Duque took bribes from an unnamed Saipem representative in exchange for favoring the Italian company during a 2011 auction for an undersea gas pipeline at the Lula and Cernambi offshore fields.

Brazil’s Petrobras holds a 65 operating percent stake in the two fields. UK-based BG Group holds a 25 percent stake and Portugal-based Galp Energia holds a 10 percent stake.

Duque, a former engineering director at Petrobras, was the senior executive in charge of the contract process, Reuters added.

Saipem, a partially owned subsidiary of Italy’s Eni, has not commented on the reports.

Duque’s lawyer Alexandre Lopes told Reuters the charges against his client are unfounded and that they are based on plea bargain testimony that can’t be verified.

Duque was among 36 suspects charged with corruption and bribery in December.

Former Petrobras Paulo Roberto Costa old 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.

Duque has denied any wrongdoing.

In July, Brazilian prosecutors disclosed that they are investigating former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for alleged influence peddling on behalf of Brazilian companies.


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