Exclusive: More Olympic projects under investigation for corruption - prosecutor

Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:07pm EDT
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By Caroline Stauffer

CURITIBA, Brazil (Reuters) - A sweeping investigation into corruption in Brazil is targeting more infrastructure projects for this year's Olympic Games than previously made public, a federal prosecutor told Reuters, citing testimony from construction companies and executives.

Carlos Lima said the probe into corruption on projects for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August was not limited to Porto Maravilha, or the "Marvelous Port", a regeneration of the city's waterfront that includes five high-rises bearing the name of U.S. property mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"There are more," Lima said in an interview in his office in the southern city of Curitiba on Monday. "There are leniency agreements underway that talk about this, but until they are finalized we will not know how many (projects) for sure."

Lima is a lead prosecutor on a task force that discovered a cartel of engineering firms siphoning kickbacks from state oil firm Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote) to political parties, a scandal fuelling a crisis that could force President Dilma Rousseff from power.

His comments were the clearest indication yet that the Olympics has become a focus of the two-year-old investigation.

The corruption allegations are not expected to hinder work on infrastructure for the Games, which is nearly finished, but they do further cloud an event set to start in the middle of Brazil's worst political and economic crises in decades.

The lower house of Brazil's Congress, many of whose members are themselves under investigation for corruption, voted on Sunday to impeach Rousseff on charges she manipulated budget accounts.

If the Senate agrees to put her on trial, as seems likely, Rousseff will be suspended for up to six months and would be unlikely to return to power.   Continued...

Men work at a light rail system with buildings in the background at Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY