Spain arrests man suspected of being "mastermind" in Petrobras case

MADRID, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested a man suspected of being a “financial mastermind” in a corruption network at Brazil’s semi-public oil company Petrobras , the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

The man, 43, is of dual Brazilian and Spanish nationality and had been on the run from Brazil since April, the ministry said, travelling first to the United States and then Spain.

Identified only as “RTD”, he has been under investigation in Brazil for money-laundering and diverting more than 14 million euros ($15 million) to political parties, it said.

He was detained under an international arrest warrant.

“The Civil Guard, in a joint investigation with Interpol, Spain, has detained in Madrid the financial mastermind of a Petrobras corruption case being sought by Brazilian authorities,” the ministry statement said.

“The detained man is accused of paying commissions in the awarding of private and public works in Brazil and abroad.”

“Operation Carwash” is Brazil’s biggest ever corruption case and has implicated dozens of politicians and businessmen amid allegations of bribes and political kickbacks, triggering protests across the country.

The arrest of “RTD” is the first in Spain in connection with the investigation, which has identified huge bribes linked to contracts at state-run enterprises and ministries. ($1 = 0.9426 euros) (Reporting by Amanda Calvo; Editing by Paul Day and Andrew Roche)