Brazilian prosecutors sue Maersk

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    RIO DE JANEIRO -Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a civil lawsuit against Danish shipping company Maersk and former executives representing the firm for alleged corruption involving shipping contracts with state-run oil firm Petrobras.

    The lawsuit requests that a judge freeze almost 1 billion reais ($198 million) in assets in order to make sure funds are available to pay for damages resulting from the alleged scheme.

    Prosecutors said there was evidence of bribe payments to Petrobras employees in exchange for privileged information that allowed Maersk to secure shipping contracts between 2006 and 2014. Former employees of Petrobras, formally Petroleo Brasileiro SA, were also included in the lawsuit.

    “We take these allegations very seriously and remain committed to cooperating with the authorities during the investigation as well as running our business in compliance with anti-corruption laws in all operating locations,” Maersk said in an emailed statement.

    The shipping company said the investigation is ongoing and that it will not comment further on the case.

    Petrobras said it has been recognized by Brazilian authorities as the victim of an array of corruption schemes uncovered by prosecutors in recent years. It said it is assisting prosecutors with dozens of civil and criminal cases.