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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

sexta-feira, 21 de março de 2014

Escandalo Petrobras: resumo da opera - David Fleischer (Brazil Focus)

O resumo da ópera (bem, faltam os detalhes da negociata) Petrobras e seus companheiros administradores.
Nunca antes neste país se roubou tanto, com tanta facilidade.
E a vergonha vai continuar: o governo vai fazer tudo para abafar o caso...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Petrobras “on the rocks”
Brazil Focus David Fleischer
Weekly Report  –  March 15-21 2014

            Petrobras is going through some “stormy waters”.  First, the late 2013 increase in diesel and gasoline prices has not eliminated Brazil’s largest state from continued FX deficits – the price of imported gasoline and diesel is higher than the pump price in Brazil.  Second, some Petrobras employees have been accused to receiving kickbacks from the Dutch firm SBM that was chosen to supply drilling platforms.  This case is now the object of an external investigating committee from the Chamber of Deputies that has allowed some deputies to “junket” to The Netherlands to meet with Dutch prosecutors who are investigating this case to obtain documents.  Third, this week yet another even worst case is mobilizing deputies to convoke a CPI to investigate the purchase of a refinery in Texas with a huge cost overrun (overpayment).

            2005 – A Belgian firm Astra Oil Trading NV purchased the Pasadena Refining System (PRSI) for US$42.5 million

            2006 (the year of Lula’s reelection) – The Administrative Council of Petrobras (presided over at that time by the Casa Civil Chief Dilma Rousseff authorized the firs to buy 50% of this Texas refinery for US$ 360 million. That meant that the “market price” of this refinery had increased from US$ 42.5 million to US$720 million in one year. 

            2007 – The Petrobras Adm. Council vetoes the acquisition of the remaining 50% of PRSI.

            2007 – Because of a “put option” in the 2006 sales contract, Astra Oil sues Petrobras in US federal court to oblige the Brazilian firm to acquire the remaining 50%.
            2008 – Petrobras hires a law firm (linked to some of its ex-executives) to defend it at the US Federal court in Texas – for a fee of US$ 7.9 million.           

            2010 – The US federal judge orders Petrobras America Inc. to pay US$ 639 million to Astra Oil for the additional 50% share of PRSI. 

            2012 – Petrobras finally “settles” this dispute and ends up paying US$ 820.5 million for the remaining 50% of PRSI (including lawyers’ honorariums and other fees).

            The TOTAL outlay by Petrobras for this refinery comes to US$ 1.1805 billion for a refinery that was worth US$ 42.5 million in 2005.  The Belgian owner of Astra Oil, Baron Albert Frére (88), received a giant “windfall” profit from this “deal”.  Frére is one of the richest Belgians with a fortune estimated at US$ 4.9 billion and is 295th rank among the billionaires listed by Forbes. 

            2013 – The TCU investigates this case and “discovers” suspect, “irregularities” in this transaction.  Petrobras tries to sell (unload) this refinery but the only offer was US$180 million and decides not to sell.

            2014 – The Federal Police and the PGR open investigations on this case that is the object of “heated” debate in Congress.

            Tuesday, 18th March – Pres.  Dilma issues a note affirming that the Petrobras Adm. Council made its decision in 2006 based on “incomplete & faulty” information contained in a summary presented by the head of Petrobras’ international sector.

            Wednesday, 19th March – The “technical area” of Petrobras and the then director of the international sector, Nestor Ceveró affirmed that in 2006 the Adm. Council had full copies of the contract including the “put option” when the acquisition was authorized. Detail: On 19th March, Nestor Ceveró went on vacation and traveled to Europe.  

            Some comments by other Petrobras Adm. Council members who attended that meeting back in 2006: 

            Claudio Haddad – Citibank [technical support] filed a favorable opinion; the council members received a summary statement.
            Jorge Gerdau – Council members were not aware of the clauses cited by Pres. Dilma; they decided based on “consultants’ technical evaluations”.
The Opposition (PSDB, DEM, PPS, PSoL, etc.) hypothesis is that the original overprice in 2006 was incorporated as caixa dois campaign finance for Lula’s reelection.
Want more? On 20th March, the Federal Police got a judicial arrest warrant and “search & seize” order and arrested former Petrobras director Paulo Roberto da Costa.  He was Petrobras Director for Refining and Supply between 2004 and 2012 and is accused of “participating (or “perpetrating”) the Pasadena refinery operation.  More recently, he is accused of participation in a money laundering dubbed Operation Lava a Jato by the Federal Police.  The police found the equivalent of R$ 1.2 million in Real, US dollars and Euros in his house.    

            Want even more? Paulo Roberto da Costa organized a firm called REF that constructed some mini-refineries in Sergipe, Alagoas, Ceará and Espírito Santo – with a total investment of R$ 1 billion.  Costa is closely linked to the Sarney Family and Senate President Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL). 
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