Ex-Petrobras trader to plead guilty after oil bust

Rodrigo Berkowitz is accused in Brazil of belonging to a group of traders who took more than US$31 million in bribes. (Bloomberg pic)

HOUSTON: A former oil trader for Petroleo Brasileiro SA has agreed to plead guilty to a felony in the US while he is sought by Brazilian authorities in their “Carwash” government-corruption probe, a person familiar with the matter said.

Rodrigo Berkowitz, accused in Brazil of belonging to a group of traders who took more than US$31 million in bribes, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to court papers. Berkowitz, who is based in Houston, is cooperating with US authorities.

Berkowitz isn’t identified by name on the court docket but is the “John Doe” in a pending case before US District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, New York, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public.

Kent Schaffer, a lawyer for Berkowitz, declined to comment.

The news of Berkowitz’s agreement to plead guilty was reported earlier by Reuters.