Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff believes investigations into the corruption scandal rocking state-owned oil giant Petrobras could "change Brazil forever" by ending a culture of impunity, reports said Sunday.
Rousseff, who has been forced onto the defensive over the scandal, spoke publicly about the scandal for the first time in remarks to Brazilian journalists after the end of the G20 Summit in Brisbane.
"I think the investigation is going to change Brazil forever. How? In the sense that we are going to end impunity," Rousseff was quoted as saying by Globo's G1 news website.
"It is a symbolic case for Brazil," Rousseff added. "It is the first time we have had a concrete investigation into corruption in Brazil, in either the public or private sectors."
Rousseff, who was elected to a fresh four-year term in October despite members of her ruling Workers Party being linked to the scandal, said the investigation would target individuals rather than Petrobras as a company.
"There are people on both sides -- the corrupt and the corruptors," Rousseff said.
Rousseff said all contracts signed between Petrobras and large construction companies suspected of corruption would be reviewed.
Brazilian Federal Police investigators on Saturday interviewed 23 people arrested on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering in Petrobras. Interviews are expected to continue into next week.
Former Petrobras director Paulo Roberto Costa has said the company allegedly paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to politicians and members of the ruling Workers Party between 2004 and 2012 to buy influence in what critics say was a collusion between Petrobras and politicians.
Costa, who is under house arrest, has been acting as whistleblower as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. The allegations roiling Petrobras have been dubbed "Operation Car Wash."