Brazil state-run energy giant paid bribes to political parties: News weekly

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazil's state-run energy giant Petrobras funneled kickbacks to officials from political parties, the weekly Epoca news magazine reported on Sunday.

Epoca cited evidence from lobbyist Joao Augusto Rezende, a former head of BR Distribuidora, a Petrobras subsidiary.

Mr Augusto told the weekly he handled all Petrobras's foreign contracts and collected a "fee" from the companies involved.

The lobbyist for the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), which is part of President Dilma Rousseff's ruling coalition, said between 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the graft money was passed on to the PMDB.

Mr Joao Vaccari Neto, the ruling Workers Party's finance secretary, meanwhile received the equivalent of US$8 million (S$10 million) in kickbacks from Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht as part of a Petrobras international contract during Ms Rousseff's 2010 presidential campaign, Epoca also reported.

The weekly quoted Mr Augusto as saying he and Mr Vaccari arranged for the money to be transferred to the Rousseff campaign.

But Mr Vaccari was quoted as saying he was not in charge of the Rousseff campaign's finances and that all donations were made "within the law". Odebrecht denied any irregularities in the contract with Petrobras.