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Petrobras sues five contractors to recover $424 million corruption losses

Petrobras CEO Aldemir Bendine. (Image courtesy of EXAME.com/Youtube)Brazil’s state-owned oil giant is filing five joint lawsuits against engineering and construction firms to recover about $424 million tied to a long-running corruption scheme.

Petrobras said it has already filed two suits with Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutors’ Office for improper conduct against contractors believed to have played a role in improperly inflating procurement costs and skimming money from company contracts.

The first suits name Engevix and Mendes Júnior and asked for joint damages of  $150.13 million, including compensation for material damages, a fine, and compensation for moral damages. 

Last month Reuters reported that Engevix, an engineering firm, is negotiating a leniency deal with Brazilian officials for its involvement in corrupt practices.

Petrobras said it will file three more lawsuits in the coming weeks involving contracts with Camargo Corrêa, OAS. and Galvão Engenharia, with a total claim for reimbursement of $274.35 million. 

“By monitoring lawsuits already proposed and future ones, the company reinforces its cooperation with the investigations and seeks compensation for the losses caused by the improper payments scheme,” Petrobras said. 

Earlier this year, Brazilian prosecutors filed five federal lawsuits against six construction companies for $1.55 billion in damages tied to the alleged corruption. 

In its 2014 earnings report, Petrobras said it has identified a “cartel” of companies and employees who systematically inflated the price of fixed asset acquisitions from 2004 to 2012 and pocketed the extra funds. 

The company has put a $2 billion price tag on corruption related expenses but said it was unable to determine the size of individual improper payments. 

Brazilian police have uncovered an elaborate corruption scheme tied to Petrobras contracts that has landed three former executive in jail and forced former CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster to resign.

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Nicolas Torres is a reporter for Petro Global News, where a version of this post first appeared.

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