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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)
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.

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