Oil deals by the commodity trading giants Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura are under investigation as part of the Car Wash investigation, the vast corruption scandal that has rocked the Brazilian establishment.
Federal police in Brazil said they had been examining alleged bribery involving Petrobras, the huge national oil company that has been at the centre of the Car Wash affair.
Operation Car Wash: The biggest corruption scandal ever?
The investigation has already led to the imprisonment of one former president, as well some of the country’s most prominent business figures.
Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura, all of which have strong ties to London, are the subject of the next phase of the Car Wash investigation, dubbed “Operation Without Limits”, according to federal authorities in Brazil.
It comes a month after the Guardian questioned the three firms about a report by the campaign group Global Witness that called for enforcement bodies in the UK and the US to probe their connections to businessmen named in the vast corruption scandal.
Police said they were looking into suspected bribery of Petrobras officials, amounting to more than $15m and linked to more than 160 fuel trading deals between 2011 and 2014.
A 190-strong team of police in Rio de Janeiro and the state of Parana have issued 37 judicial orders, 26 search warrants, 11 pre-trial arrest warrants and six subpoenas.
Glencore declined to comment. Trafigura said it did not comment on legal matters. Vitol has not yet responded to a request for a comment.
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