Petrobras bans firms amid kickback probe

Associated Press

Brazil's state-run oil company says it's temporarily suspending the country's biggest builders and engineering firms from bidding on contracts amid investigations into a corruption scandal.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's state-run oil company says it's temporarily suspending the country's biggest builders and engineering firms from bidding on contracts amid investigations into a massive corruption scandal.

The oil firm Petrobras says that it's blocked 23 companies from bidding on projects while an internal probe and an investigation by prosecutors continue into alleged kickbacks and money laundering.

Petrobras said late Monday that the firms now blocked from bidding included Brazil's top builders Odebrecht, Camargo Correa and Andrade Gutierrez. The oil company says the banned companies have the right to protest and appeal.

Federal prosecutors so far are seeking the repayment of some $380 million from companies in connection with their investigation, though they say they will great expand the probe.

Thirty-nine people, many top executives, face charges.

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