Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday charged Aldemir Bendine, the former chief executive of state-controlled oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA
Bendine served as CEO of Petrobras, as the company is formally known, between 2015 and 2016, and was brought in to clean up the firm after its central role in a massive graft scandal that has embroiled politicians and business executives.
Bendine, who also led state-owned lender Banco do Brasil SA
Prosecutors said in a statement that Bendine sought 17 million reais in bribes when he led Banco do Brasil to authorise the rollover of a loan to Odebrecht. However, the company refused to pay him, according to testimony from Odebrecht executives.
Shortly before taking over as head of Petrobras, he demanded and received payments of 3 million reais from Odebrecht so that it could receive unspecified "favourable" treatment from Petrobras, prosecutors said.
In an emailed statement, Bendine`s legal team said he is innocent and that no companies received any special benefits with Petrobras or Banco do Brasil under his leadership.
Bendine could face up to 25 years in prison if tried and convicted on all counts. He is the first former Petrobras CEO to be charged in connection with the kickback scheme that engulfed the company.
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