The former treasurer of President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party was charged by Brazilian public prosecutors for his role in the corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.
Joao Vaccari Neto is being accused of laundering money stemming from kickbacks paid by Petroleo Brasileiro SA contractors that were funneled to a printer linked to the party, the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement on its website. Prosecutors are demanding that Vaccari and others involved in the alleged scheme return 2.4 million reais ($820,000) to public coffers, as well as 4.8 million reais in damages.
Vaccari, who resigned from his post as treasurer after his arrest, denies wrongdoing, according to his lawyer Luiz Flavio D’Urso. All donations Vaccari requested for the party were legal and reported as required by law, D’Urso said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The Workers’ Party, or PT, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.
The charges, which could lead to prison terms of 3 to 10 years, maintain the spotlight on the role of the PT in the country’s largest corruption scandal ever. Vaccari was arrested April 15 and his preventive imprisonment was extended on April 21.
Pedro Barusco, a former Petrobras services manager who entered a plea bargain with prosecutors, told investigators the PT received as much as $200 million from the scheme in the decade through 2013, according to a transcript of his testimony.