The Brazilian Financial Crimes Bureau has called for negotiations with a senior Mærsk executive who police believe may be involved in one of Brazil’s largest ever corruption cases.
The bribery case, which draws links between a senior Mærsk executive and the large state-owned oil company Petrobras, has affected Brazil to a degree that has shaken the entire nation’s economic foundation.
Brazilian police commissioner, Erika Mialik Marena, confirmed to Berlingske that the police will question a Mærsk executive.
“We have not been able to contact [name omitted] as yet, but it’s certainly something we will do,” wrote Marena in an email to Berlingske.
Mærsk involved in bribery
The case has cast suspicion on a number of high-ranking politicians, government officials and business people in the South American country.
Mærsk was drawn into the case last year when a former director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa, told Brazilian police that he received money from Mærsk’s Brazilian agent in exchange for confidential information that could put Mærsk in a better position than its competition.
In March last year, Costa was arrested and accused of being involved in the corruption. After some deliberation, he entered into an agreement with the Brazilian prosecutor to become a key witness and disclose all the information he knew in exchange for a reduced sentence.
In February this year, it emerged that the Mærsk executive, who will be invited to attend the deliberations, had held meetings with Costa. Costa said in his testimony that the parties met in either “2005 or 2006” to discuss how Mærsk could expand its co-operation with Petrobras.
Soon after, Mærsk’s Brazilian agent began to transfer money to Costas in the region of 69,000 kroner per month in exchange for confidential information about Petrobras’s impending contracts. According to Costas, this knowledge gave Mærsk an edge over the competition.
Mærsk denies claims
However, AP Moller-Mærsk asserts to Berlingske that the company is not aware of any illegal activity.
“We have not found anything that indicates that Mærsk has taken part in any improper or illegal activity,” Mærsk told Berlingske.
“We have actively sought and willingly provided information to the Brazilian federal authorities. We have not recently been contacted by the federal authorities, but are of course still contactable.”