A Brazilian court has ordered the freezing of more than $104 million in assets of French energy and transportation company Alstom (IW 1000/161) as part of a corruption probe, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The court order was issued Monday in response to a corruption case of "extreme gravity" in 1998, Sao Paulo prosecutor Jose Carlos Blat said.
The investigation seeks to prove that the company made under the table payments to Sao Paulo officials to win a no-bid energy contract, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
One of the officials implicated in the case is Robson Marinho, a former advisor to the Sao Paulo court of auditors and a founder of the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party, the main rival to the ruling Workers' Party of President Dilma Rousseff.
Blat said the contract under investigation was for building power plants in the late 1990s.
"The unethical action continues because it involves a case of corruption of extreme gravity in which in return for a contract bribes involving passive and active corruption were accepted between Mr Marinho and other public agents and Alstom," Blat said in an interview with TV Globo.
Alstom told AFP in an email that it had not been notified of the court action and reiterated that the company adheres to Brazilian law.
The firm has previously admitted that some of its employees had paid bribes for contracts in the Bahamas, Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
Alstom also is under investigation in Brazil for its alleged participation in a network of companies suspected of corruption in bidding for the Sao Paulo metro.
Copyright Agence France Presse, 2015