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Brazil graft probe won’t derail W.Va. cracker, Tomblin’s office says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bribery scandal involving a Brazil-based company that has proposed building a $4 billion ethane cracker plant in Wood County likely won’t affect the viability of the project, a spokesman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday.

Over the weekend, Brazilian authorities arrested Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht SA, alleging he took part in a scheme that stole billions of dollars from a government-run oil company called Petrobas.

In 2013, Odebrecht’s parent company announced it was developing plans for a petrochemical complex near Parkersburg.

“We are aware of the allegations concerning Mr. Odebrecht,” said Chris Stadelman, Tomblin’s spokesman. “We do not believe this situation will have an impact on the ethane cracker proposed for Wood County.”

An Odebrecht-owned company called Braskem USA would operate the multibillion-dollar plant, if it’s ever built. Braskem officials said the Odebrecht CEO’s arrest wouldn’t affect the company’s proposed projects in North America.

“The arrest warrants issued for Odebrecht executives in Brazil were unfortunate and unnecessary given that all the group’s companies and team members have always been at the disposal of authorities to collaborate with the investigations,” Braskem said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “The institutional issues surrounding Petrobas have had no impact on Braskem’s growth plans in the United States…

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