RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A jailed former finance minister in Brazil has said in plea bargain testimony that beverage giant Ambev SA made “inappropriate payments” to former presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, according to a newspaper report.
Brazilian newspaper Estado de S. Paulo, citing confidential court documents, said former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci told federal police he also personally received payments from the company that he said were aimed at preventing an increase in beverage taxes.
The newspaper said it was the first time Ambev, the Latin American and Canadian subsidiary of Anheuser Busch Inbev NV and one of Brazil’s largest companies, has been caught up in the massive, multi-year corruption probe known as Operation Car Wash.
Ambev shares were down 2.3% in early trading on the Sao Paulo stock exchange.
Representatives for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)