Brazilian police on Tuesday arrested the president of state nuclear company Eletronuclear, as part of a new investigation linked to a sprawling inquiry into corrupt dealings at state-owned oil company Petrobras.
Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva was arrested as part of "Radioactivity", an operation to combat suspected irregularities, such as bribery and fraudulent bidding, concerning construction contracts at the Angra 3 nuclear plant.
The operation involved 180 police offers who searched 23 residences and offices in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Niteroi and Barueri.
The construction of Angra 3 nuclear plant with a planned capacity of 1,405MW began three years ago in Angra dos Reis, a city in south Rio de Janeiro state. Its budget has soared to 14 billion reais (4.1 billion U.S. dollars).
Dalton Avancini, ex-president of construction company Camargo Correa, revealed that contracts for work at Angra 3 were given to companies that paid bribes to leaders of Eletrobras, the parent company of Eletronuclear, and the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, a main ally of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's.
According to Avancini, Eletrobras charged as bribes 1 percent of the value of each contract awarded to construction companies, including Camargo Correa.
Pinheiro da Silva was removed from his position at Eletronuclear last April after the first allegations of corruption against him emerged.
Investigators believe that the values of Petrobras contracts were inflated, with the differences split by politicians and the company's executives, in a mode allegedly replicated in other public companies, including Eletrobras.