Brazil prosecutors sue Maersk, seek to freeze $200 million

Maersk containers are seen at the Port of Santos, Brazil September 23, 2019. Picture taken September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a civil lawsuit against Danish shipping company Maersk and former employees of state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, for alleged corruption involving shipping contracts, they said on Friday.

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

Maersk and Petrobras did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The civil lawsuit, which will be evaluated by a federal judge, follows a similar action against oil trader Trafigura last week for allegedly bribing Petrobras employees in order to secure fuel shipments.

In Brazil, prosecutors can press criminal charges only against individuals, and companies are subject only to administrative sanctions, which can include fines.

($1 = 5.05 reais)

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