Brazil judge lets 2 accused in oil spill to leave country

Jeb Blount – Reuters, 03/26/2012

The Brazilian judge handling criminal charges against U.S. oil company Chevron , drill-rig operator Transocean and 17 of their employees over a November oil spill granted two of the accused permission to leave Brazil to visit their families, documents posted on Monday on a court Web site showed.

The decision could be a sign courts will be lenient with defendants during a unprecedented Brazilian criminal case that could last years and result in prison sentences of up to 31 years.

The employees, Transocean’s offshore superintendent Gary Marcel Slaney, 58, a Canadian, and British citizen Brian Mara, 45, a Transocean drilling technician, were allowed to leave Brazil on March 21, the day the charges were filed and return April 19, according to documents on the Federal Court Web site.

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