Brazilian police carried out arrest warrants and search orders on Tuesday as it investigates evidence that a lawmaker received bribes to obstruct investigations into a corruption scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras.
Federal prosecutors said they were targeting former senator Gim Argello, who was a member of two congressional inquiry committees created in 2014 to probe irregularities at Petroleo Brasileiro SA. There is evidence that Argello received more than 5 million reais ($1.4 million) in bribes from UTC Engenharia and OAS SA to avoid summoning company executives for questioning, prosecutors said in a statement.
The 28th phase of the so-called Carwash probe comes at a critical moment in Brazil, when lawmakers prepare to vote on an impeachment request against President Dilma Rousseff this week. While the request is based on alleged accounting irregularities by her government, the corruption scandal has contributed to Rousseff’s low popularity and fueled calls for her ouster.
The Carwash investigation reached boiling point last month after former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was briefly detained for questioning.