Petrobras’ much-anticipated financials say graft scheme cost company $2.1bn

Petrobras’ much-anticipated financials say graft scheme cost company $2.1bn

San Francisco: Petrobras lost $2.1bn because of the “graft for inflated contracts” scheme that has blackened the name of Brazil’s state-run energy company.

That number was the big takeaway, among many, from Wednesday’s long overdue financial report by the firm for the last half of 2014.

The company has been racked by scandal and distrust since investigators lifted the rock on a messy spread of alleged bribery that encompassed Petrobras executives, foreign contractor firms and high-up Brazilian politicians – the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history.

Petrobras attributed the losses to the numerous inflated contracts and other graft during the scheme, which it says ran from 2004 to 2012.

According to finance and industry analysts, Petrobras needed to get this information out in the open to clear the air. It opens the possibility of regaining investor confidence and access to international credit markets.

Wednesday’s were the company’s first audited financial figures since August and showed that for 2014 it suffered net losses of US$7.1bn.

Also on Wednesday, a Brazilian federal judge handed down sentences to two of the main figures in the case, giving former Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa over seven years in prison and the scheme’s top money launderer, Alberto Yousseff, over nine years.

The bribe scandal has left its taint on national president Dilma Rousseff who was chairwoman of the Petrobras board during some of the years the scheme was allegedly running. Although she has not been directly implicated there have been huge protests against her government because of public disgust at the whole affair.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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