Italian court acquits Techint owners in Brazil graft case

(Reuters) – A Milan court on Thursday acquitted a company and its owners who had been accused of bribing an executive at Brazilian energy group Petrobras (PETR4.SA), ruling it had no jurisdiction over the allegations after a trial lasting 18 months.

The case had been brought against holding company San Faustin, its owners Paolo Rocca and Gian Felice Rocca, and fellow executive Roberto Bonatti.

The verdict, read in court by lead judge Ombretta Malatesta, ruled there were no grounds to prosecute the case in Italy.

Prosecutors alleged a manager at Italy’s Techint Group paid a total of around 6.6 million euros to a Petrobras executive over the period 2009 to 2014 to win contracts worth around 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion).

Techint is owned by Italy’s Rocca family through its financial holding San Faustin. The same family group owns just over 60% of Italian steel pipe giant Tenaris (TENR.MI).

In a hearing in March prosecutors had requested that the three defendants be jailed for 4 years and 6 months and San Faustin be handed a fine of 1.24 million euros and face confiscation of 6.6 million euros.

San Faustin said on Thursday it was satisfied with the outcome, adding it had affirmed all along that the company had acted correctly and its board members had no involvement in the alleged offences. It had also argued that the case should not be heard in Italy.

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