It has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history. Prosecutors, taking evidence from former executives at the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, have uncovered a massive kickback scheme, in which contractors were allowed to overcharge in exchange for bribes totaling billions of dollars.
Large sums were also allegedly diverted from the oil company into the accounts of Brazil’s ruling political party to finance election campaigns.
47 senior political officials and dozens of business leaders are being investigated, leaving many wondering the extent of the involvement of President Rousseff, who at the time was head of Petrobras’ board of directors. So far, Rousseff’s popularity has taken a nosedive, while people have taken to the streets to ask for her resignation. Besides endangering the president’s legacy, the issue is threatening to further slow down Brazil’s struggling economy.
Stephen Gibbs filed this special report from Rio de Janeiro.