Petrobras pay $2.95bn to settle US class action on corruption

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras denied any wrongdoing in the $2.95 billion deal. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Petrobras pay $2.95bn to settle US class action on corruption

LONDON: Petroleo Brasileiro has agreed to pay $2.95 billion to settle a US class action brought by investors who claim they lost money in a corruption scandal.
Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras (as it is known) has claimed it was itself a victim, while expressly denying any wrongdoing under the terms of the deal. United States District Judge Jed Rakoff must approve the settlement.
But, the company’s market value has plunged as the so-called Lava Jato or “car wash” corruption scandal has deepened. The company said the settlement will be paid in three roughly equal installments and will affect fourth quarter results.
Investors sued Petrobras after prosecutors in Brazil accused former executives at the company of accepting more than $2 billion in bribes over the course of ten years, mainly from construction and engineering companies.
Petrobras said that it hoped the settlement would resolve all investor claims in the United States over the scandal.
The deal does not include investors who bought non-US-based Petrobras securities outside the United States, according to the company. The deal comes just days after Brazil’s securities regulator CVM formally accused eight former Petrobras executives of corruption.
According to a legal filing by the regulator on Friday, the accusations relate to possible irregularities in the contracting process for three drill ships.
Former Petrobras chief executives Maria das Gracas Foster and Jose Sergio Gabrielle are among the accused in CVM’s filing.
The largest securities fraud settlements in US history include $7.2 billion stemming from the collapse of Enron, $6.2 billion over an accounting scandal at WorldCom and $3.2 billion over an accounting scandal at Tyco International, according to Stanford Law School’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 February 2019
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”