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

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.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and China give EU trade reforms thumbs down at WTO

Updated 7 min 5 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Russia and China give EU trade reforms thumbs down at WTO

  • China is suing US and EU at WTO
  • Kingdom warns new rules are concerning

The EU’s new rules against countries dumping cheap goods on its market got a rough ride at a World Trade Organization meeting, where China, Russia and Saudi Arabia led a chorus of disapproval, a trade official said on Thursday.

The EU, which is in a major dispute with China about the fairness of Chinese pricing, introduced rules last December that allow it to take into account “significant distortions” in prices caused by government intervention.

A Chinese trade official told the WTO’s anti-dumping committee that Beijing had deep concerns about the new methodology, saying it would damage the WTO’s anti-dumping system and increase uncertainty for exporters, an official who attended the meeting said.

China argued that the concept of “significant distortion” did not exist under WTO rules, and the EU should base its dumping investigations on domestic prices in countries of origin, such as China.

The EU reformed its rules in the hope they would allow it to keep shielding its markets from cheap Chinese imports while fending off a Chinese legal challenge at the WTO.
China said that when it joined the WTO in 2001, the other member countries agreed that after 15 years they would treat it as a market economy, taking its prices at face value.

But the US and the EU have refused, saying China still subsidises some industries, such as steel and aluminum, which have massive overcapacity and spew vast supplies onto the world market, making it impossible for others to compete.

China is suing both the US and the EU at the WTO to try to force them to change their rules.

Legal experts say the dispute is one of the most important in the 23-year history of the WTO, because it pits the major trading blocs against each other with fundamentally opposing views of how the global trade rules should work.

In the WTO committee meeting, Saudi Arabia said the new rules were very concerning, and it challenged the EU to explain how EU authorities could ensure a fair and objective assessment of “significant distortion.”

Russia said the EU rules violated the WTO rulebook and certain aspects were unclear and created great uncertainty for exporters. Bahrain, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Oman also expressed concerns.

But a US trade official said the discussion showed that appropriate tools were available within the WTO to address distortions affecting international trade.