Wires

UPDATE 2-Ex-CEO of Brazil's Braskem arrested on U.S. corruption charges

Brendan Pierson

(Adds unsealing of indictment, background)

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The former chief executive of Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA was arrested on Wednesday in New York on charges that he took part in a scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to officials to secure government contracts.

Jose Carlos Grubisich was charged with conspiracy to violate a U.S. foreign corruption law and with money laundering conspiracy in a newly unsealed indictment in Brooklyn federal court.

Grubisich was arrested in the morning at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and is expected to appear in federal court in Brooklyn later in the day, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the office of U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

A lawyer for Grubisich could not immediately be reached for comment.

Grubisich led Braskem from about 2002 to 2008 and went on to hold various positions with its affiliated construction company Odebrecht SA. He later became CEO of pulp maker Eldorado Brasil Celulose SA.

Braskem and Odebrecht SA agreed in 2016 to pay a combined $3.5 billion in a settlement with U.S., Brazilian and Swiss authorities. The settlement resolved allegations that they took part in bribing government officials in Brazil and elsewhere to secure lucrative contracts.

The U.S. Justice Department said in 2016 that the penalty to be paid by the two companies included about $2.6 billion from Odebrecht and $957 million from Braskem, and that most of the money would go to Brazil.

Both Braskem and Odebrecht pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges as part of the deal, which emerged from a three-year corruption investigation in Brazil dubbed "Operation Car Wash."

The investigation, which centered on payments made to state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras, led to dozens of arrests and political upheaval in Brazil, contributing to the 2016 ouster of President Dilma Rousseff. (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York Editing by Chris Reese, Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)