“Financial Mastermind” Behind Brazil's Petrobras Scandal Captured in Spain

Published: 23 November 2016

By Igor Spaic

Spanish authorities said Tuesday they had captured the “financial mastermind” behind a massive corruption scandal at Brazilian state oil company Petrobras that sparked mass protests and high-level criminal charges in the Latin American country.

The scandal, the biggest corruption probe in the country's history, centers on allegations that company directors, contractors and politicians from the Workers' Party and it's allies collaborated in order to siphon billions of dollars from the company into kickbacks.

The suspect, a 43-year old Brazilian and Spanish dual national identified in media reports as Rodrigo Tacla Duran, was a lawyer for South America’s largest construction conglomerate, Odebrecht. Police said he was responsible for the “payment of commissions in the awarding of private and public works in Brazil and abroad.”

Police said Duran fled Brazil for the United States in April, before coming to Spain. A Spanish court is set to rule on an extradition request from Brazil.

Brazil's investigation into the case, dubbed “Operation Car Wash”, was initiated in 2014 and has already seen high profile scalps, including a 23-year sentence in May for Jose Dirceu, chief of staff for former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula also faces charges in the case.

Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached in August.