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Bolsonaro sees crime behind mystery oil slicks

Christian Fernsby |
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that mysterious oil slicks polluting northeastern beaches likely had criminal origins, without explaining further.

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Topics: BOLSONARO    OIL   

Bolsonaro also appeared to row back comments from Monday, when he suggested the oil could be from a shipwrecked vessel, suggesting the evidence did not suggest such a cause. He also said he did not want to blame another country without proof, or it would cause a problem, Reuters reported.

“If it was a shipwreck, oil would still be coming up. It is more probable that something was dumped there criminally,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

A study by state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, suggests the oil came from Venezuela, according to a person familiar with the matter, who suggested that the volume of oil pointed to a sunken oil tanker.

Petrobras said that molecular tests on the organic material in samples of the crude oil showed they were not compatible with the oils it produced and sold. The company declined to say whether the oil slicks were from Venezuelan crude.

The oil has washed up in recent weeks on more than 100 beaches in nine northeastern states from Maranhao to Bahia. Its origin has generated an array of speculative explanations amid growing environmental concern.


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