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Google fined in Brazil for refusing to intercept emails needed in Petrobras probe

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

The federal court in the southern state of Parana said in a statement Monday that Google eventually did share the emails with Brazilian police several months ago but had to pay the fine for initially refusing to comply with the judicial order.

The Mountain View, California-based company had insisted it could only hand over the messages if the Brazilian and United States governments made a joint request.

A spokeswoman for Google confirmed the company "obeys judicial orders in Brazil" but declined to comment further.

The emails in question were sent by a money changer under investigation in a money laundering scheme at Petrobras.

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Prosecutors investigating a sprawling kickback scheme at Petrobras filed charges last week against 35 people, including executives from some of the nation's biggest construction firms.

The formal charges cap a months-long investigation dubbed "Operation Car Wash," which is proving to be one of Brazil's biggest corruption schemes yet uncovered with authorizes saying they'll seek the return of nearly $400 million from the accused.

Authorities allege top officials from Petrobras operated the kickback scheme on contracts worth upward of $4 billion, with money from the inflated contracts eventually being fed back to the governing Workers' Party and other top parties for political campaigns.

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