The arrested individuals are employed in such companies as Petrobras Distribuidora, Ipiranga (a division of Brazil's Ultrapar fuel distributor) and Raizen energy company (a joint venture of Cosan and Royal Dutch Shell), which account for 70 percent of the country's fuel market, the Globo news portal reported.
Petrobras Distribuidora said, commenting on the probe, that it was guided by best commercial practices, competitiveness, ethics and respect for consumers in pricing process and required its partners and employees to do same. Raizen, in turn, said that it was the owners of the petrol station, who set fuel prices, while distributors did not interfere in the process.
The increased fuel prices in Brazil, which is Latin America's major oil producer, have sparked resentment of the country's population recently. In May, traffic in Brazil has been paralyzed for several days due to a strike of truckers, who demanded changes in pricing principles and the resignation of Pedro Parente, then president of Brazil's Petrobras state petroleum company.
As a result, Brazilian President Michel Temer agreed to the protesters' demands and reduced diesel prices, while Parente stepped down amid protests on June 1.