Officials in Brazil have officially launched an investigation on JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s alleged role in reported bribery and money laundering scheme with Petrobras company in 2011.

According to a Reuters report, Brazilian police have focused their attention on the purchases of some 300,000 barrels of Petrobras fuel oil by JPMorgan in 2011.

The documents acquired by Reuters include email messages between co-conspirators, bank records, and witness testimony.

The sources familiar with the matter said that authorities are working to identify if the alleged bribery continued in the following years. The court documents also included witness testimony from Rodrigo Berkowitz, a former Petrobras fuel trader.

During his plea bargain agreement with Brazilian authorities, Berkowitz said two fuel cargoes were sold to a JPMorgan unit.

U.S. and Brazilian authorities had accused the oil company traders of taking bribes from counterparties for years through 2018. Petrobras is Brazil's huge majority-state-owned oil company.

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Petrobras Scandal

The Petrobras scandal was revealed by a federal investigation in 2014 under the code name "Car Wash." More than 30 individuals were arrested in operations carried out nationally by federal police starting in the middle of November 2014.

According to a Britannica profile of the issue, the accused were taken to a detention center in Curitiba. Those directly implicated were identified as the CEOs of the major construction companies OAS, Queiroz Galvao, and UTC, among others. Senior executives of the oil firm IESA were also implicated in the case.

Around 110 people were accused of corruption and money laundering, among other financial crimes, in March 2015. 

Petrobras accounted for more than an eighth of all investments in Brazil while providing hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction firms, shipyards, and refineries. Petrobras had also formed business ties with international suppliers.

Their business connections include Rolls-Royce and Samsung Heavy Industries, according to The Guardian. The oil company had also become the center of Brazil's politics during the 2003-2010 presidency of the Workers' Party leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Lula's political allies were also allegedly offered executive posts in the oil company. According to another Reuters report, Petrobras has said that it is the victim of corruption rather than its perpetrator. It added that the company helped authorities with dozens of criminal investigations and 21 administrative probes.

Prosecutors earlier said that there were indications that Petrobras employees had arranged a system with corrupt traders so that sweetheart contracts would be granted on a rotating basis.

Senator Delcidio do Amaral has claimed that it was Lula who had organized payoffs and urged him to get former Petrobras executive Nestor Cervero out of the country. Amaral, who was the Workers' Party leader in the upper house at the time, was taken into custody in November 2015. 

He agreed to co-operate with investigators and told them everything he knew about the illegal activities of his fellow politicians, including former president Dilma Rousseff.

Amaral has accused Rousseff of conspiring to obstruct justice. But the senator has singled out Lula as the mastermind of the Petrobras corruption scheme.

Meanwhile, Lula and Rousseff denied the allegation and said that Amaral was lying to save himself.

In a phone call recorded by police, Jaques Wagner, Rousseff's former chief of staff, told Lula that they never imagined that Amaral was such a "scrotum." 

READ MORE: Brazilian Authorities Probes Lula da Silva's Link to Corruption Scandal; Is the Former President Running for 2018 Presidency?

This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Mary Webber

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