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Brazil court bars travel for Chevron execs

A court in Brazil has slapped travel bans on 17 executives with energy giant Chevron over an ongoing oil spill investigation. Prosecutors said they planned to charge the group.

Judge Vlamir Costa ruled that the five US nationals, five Brazilians, three Australians, two French, one Canadian and one Briton could only leave Brazil with court approval.

Chevron is currently being probed over a major spill in the Frade Field area off Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) said that some 3,000 barrels of crude ended up in the ocean as a result of the accident.

Brazilian prosecutors had earlier said they would file criminal charges against the 17 executives over a new oil leak near Frade Field. The charges are to include “environmental crimes.”

Chevron confirmed the new leak on Thursday, with ANP officials saying the scale of the seepage was still unknown.

Chevron said it would conduct a comprehensive technical study and prepare a complementary study to better understand the geological features of the area.

The US firm has already been fined $30 million and barred from exploring further new off-shore oil fields.

dfm/ch (AFP, AP)