Oscar Niemeyer Museum Receives 139 Artworks Linked to $3.8 Billion Petrobras Corruption Scandal

The pieces hung in the home of one of the state-run oil company's top brass.

Renato Duque, Petrobas’s former director of servicesPhoto via: Veja
Renato Duque, Petrobas’s former director of services
Photo via: Veja

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil, has received 139 artworks seized from two individuals involved in the Petrobras case, considered one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country’s history, AFP reports.

The trove includes artworks by Joan Miró and the Brazilian artists Djanira, Alberto da Veiga Guignard, and Heitor dos Prazeres.

The works will undergo condition and provenance assessments, before being displayed in public from April 14, as part of an exhibition entitled “Under the Museum’s Custody”.

“At this moment, we are going to exhibit every artwork we receive,” the museum’s director, Estela Sandrini, told Folha de S. Paulo. “If it is not there, it is because it did not fit in the room.” She added: “If there is a mold problem, or something similar, we will not display it to avoid contamination of other artworks. If there is no legal provenance, we won’t exhibit it either.”

Renato Duque, Petrobas’s former director of services, owned 131 of the 139 artworks seized by police. They were found hanging in his home when he was arrested last Monday in connection with the corruption case.

The other eight works belonged to businessman Adir Assad, also arrested as part of Operation Car Wash, which is investigating a sprawling bribery scheme with state-run oil company Petrobras at its center.

Prosecutors say Petrobras gave inflated contracts to some of Brazil’s largest construction companies over a 10-year-period, generating up to $3.8 billion used to bribe company officials and politicians.

According to the International Business Times, investigators have already made a large number of arrests, including 47 politicians—some of them members of President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party—former Petrobras executives, and several third-party company directors.

A few days ago, prosecutors announced they would investigate three members of the ruling coalition, including the governor of Rio de Janeiro state Luiz Fernando Pezao.

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum has previously received 64 works, including pieces by Salvador Dalí and Vik Muniz, seized as part of Operation Car Wash, which started in March 2014.


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