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Saipem confirms Petrobras graft probe

Italian oil and gas services firm Saipem confirmed that Milan prosecutors are looking into alleged corruption tied to a 2011 contract awarded by Brazil’s Petrobras.

Prosecutors are investigating a contract awarded by state owned Petrobras to Saipem SA (France) and Saipem Do Brasil in 2011.

Saipem said Wednesday it is cooperating fully with the investigation. It said it has not received any notification about the matter from Brazilian judicial authorities.

Last month, prosecutors in Brazil alleged that former Petrobras engineering director Renato Duque showed unfair favoritism to Saipem during an a undersea gas pipeline contract auction for the offshore Brazil Lula and Cernambi fields.

Prosecutors allege that Duque accepted bribes from a Saipem representative in exchange for favoring the company.

Brazilian officials claim that Duque received $1 million in bribes through a Swiss bank account along with $174,000 worth of art in exchange for favoring Saipem, the Wall Street Journal said.

Duque was arrested along with 17 others in November for a range of corruption charges tied to Petrobras deals.

He was the second senior Petrobras official arrested as part of the ongoing probe, known as Operation Car Wash.

Italy’s Eni owns a 43 percent stake in Saipem.

The Italian government controls Eni through a one-third interest with enhanced voting rights.

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Nicolas Torres is a reporter for Petro Global News, where a version of this post first appeared.

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