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Petrobras CEO met with police at headquarters as scandals deepen

PETER MILLARD

RIO DE JANEIRO (Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA CEO Maria das Gracas Foster gave documents to the federal police as a bribery audit and potential congressional probe into a refinery purchase has heightened public scrutiny into the state oil producer.

A police chief and three agents met with the CEO at the company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro today with a warrant for documents on a “specific contract”, the company said in an emailed statement. Foster had her legal department deliver the documents to the police, it said.

The documents are part of an investigation into a 10 billion reais ($4.5 billion) money laundering operation, said a person familiar with the investigation, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Petrobras’s former head of refining, Paulo Costa, was one of the people arrested last month for involvement in the so-called Lava Jato case.

The money laundering case comes as lawmakers question current and former officials on the 2006 purchase of the Pasadena refinery in Texas from Astra Oil Trading NV for a total cost of $1.2 billion. The company also conducted an internal audit last month into alleged bribes from offshore platform provider SBM Offshore NV, and found no wrongdoing.

Petrobras’s press office declined to comment on any links to the Lava Jato case. The federal police didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Earlier today the police said it carried out 2 arrests and 15 searches in Sao Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro, Macae and Niteroi to find documents to help with investigations into the money laundering operation.

04/12/2014

 

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