Rio de Janeiro, June 9, 2016 – Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras hereby responds to Official Letter 255/2016-CVM/SEP/GEA-1, which requests the following clarifications:
Official Letter 255/2016-CVM/SEP/GEA-1
We refer to the news item published on June 6, 2016 in the O Pais (The Country) column of the newspaper O Globo, entitled Propinas desde 2002 (Bribes since 2002), which contains the following affirmations:
-BRASÍLIA- Petrobras’ former International Officer Nestor Cerveró indicated the payment of at least R$564.1 million in bribes involving the business of the company and one of its subsidiaries, BR Distribuidora. Eleven politicians are named as beneficiaries. The details are in the plea bargaining agreement declaration of Cerveró’s, who is collaborating with Justice in exchange for a reduced sentence. The volume will almost certainly be higher, given that the amounts have not been updated, and there are no details of how much was paid in bribes in some of the businesses with irregularities.
The highest individual amount refers to Petrobras’ 2001 acquisition of the Argentinian oil company Pérez Companc. According to Cerveró, the deal involved the payment of bribes totaling US$100 million to members of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB) government, equivalent to R$354 million at last Friday’s exchange rate (but without monetary restatement).
In 2007, another deal involving Pérez Companc led to the payment of bribes, This was the sale of Transener, the main electricity transmission linking the north and south of Argentina, which was part of Pérez Companc. In 2003, Nestor Kirchner became President of Argentina and, according to Cerveró, pressured Petrobras to sell Transener. The deal was closed with a friend of one of Kirchner’s ministers and generated at least US$300,000 (R$1.06 million) for Cerveró and another US$300,000 for the lobbyist Fernando Antônio Falcão Soares, better known as Fernando Baiano. But Cerveró claims most of the illegal payments remained in Argentina.
Cerveró also stated that the acquisition of the Pasadena refinery in the USA generated bribes of US$15 million (R$53.1 million) for ex-senator Delcídio Amaral, Fernando Baiano and Petrobras’ former Refining, Transportation and Marketing Officer Paulo Roberto Costa, among others. A further R$4 million was paid to Delcídio in regard to the renovation of the refinery. In 2014, the Federal Accounting Court (TCU) concluded that the Pasadena transaction had led to losses of US$792.3 million (R$2.804 billion) for Petrobras.
The acquisition of drilling rigs led to the payment of at least US$24 million (R$84.96 million) in bribes, whose beneficiaries, according to Cerveró, included Senate Leader Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), former Lower House Leader Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), Senator Jader Barbalho (PMDB-PA) and Delcídio, among others.
Cerveró further claims that the acquisition of oil blocks in Angola generated bribes of R$40 to R$50 million for the PT’s presidential campaign in 2006, when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was a candidate for reelection, stating that he obtained this information from Manoel Vicente, CEO of Sonangol, Angola’s state-owned oil company. The Brazilian side of the negotiations were led by former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci.
Cerveró also cited several bribes totaling at least R$26 million paid to Fernando Collor involving businesses of BR Distribuidora, although there is no information on the exact amounts. He also mentioned bribery payments to the campaigns of certain PT members, including Jaques Wagner, albeit without going into details.
In addition to the bribes, Cerveró cited political interference, such as that of former minister Ideli Salvatti pressuring BR Distribuidora to renegotiate R$90 million owed to BR by the transport company Dalçoquio. Another point was the loss of US$40 million (R$141.6 million) from the suspension of the lubricant factory works in Duque de Caxias (RJ). He also stated that the former Mines & Energy Minister Edison Lobão had ordered the Petrobras’ pension fund, Petros, to invest in Banco BVA, which subsequently went under.
Given the above, we request that you confirm if the accusations contained in the news item are being investigated by the internal and contracted commissions of the issuer, together with any other information deemed important.”
As disclosed previously, Petrobras hired the law firms Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to undertake an independent investigation in order to ascertain the nature, extent and impact of the actions that may have been practiced within the context of Operation Car Wash and its outcomes. The investigation covers the other national and international Petrobras System companies, including BR Distribuidora.
The revelations contained in ex-Officer Nestor Cerveró’s depositions are therefore the subject of independent investigation.
The Company has also constituted Internal Investigation Commissions to verify indications or facts against the Company, as well as specific audits, which, when complete, will be forwarded to the public authorities to help in the investigations.
The public authorities have publicly recognized Petrobras’ importance for the progress of the investigations and the Company reiterates its commitment to continuing collaboration with these authorities in order to shed light on the matters under investigation.