29 January 2015, News Wires – Former Petrobras chief executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli has had his assets frozen by a Brazilian court as part of a probe into historical corruption at the state-controlled oil giant, according to a report.
The state court on Wednesday froze the assets of the immediate predecessor of Petrobras chief executive Maria das Gracas Foster, Reuters reported.
The action is part of the wide probe, known as Lava Jato (meaning Car Wash), into improper payments relating to historical Petrobras contracts.
In mid-December, state prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro, where Petrobras is based, as the court to freeze Gabrielli’s assets and provide access to bank details of several former company executives.
Apart from Gabrielli, who served as chief executive from July 2005 to January 2012, that list included Renato Duque, former services & engineering boss.
Prosecutors said construction and engineering company Andrade Guitierrez conspired with the Petrobras officials to overcharge for work on a project to expand the oil company’s Rio de Janeiro research park and data-processing centre.
The work under investigation by the prosecutors was carried out between 2005 and 2010.
Petrobras is still assessing the costs of the corruption scandal that has rocked the company and Brazil. On Wednesday that company released its long-delayed third-quarter result, but shied away from booking any charges relating to the scandal. The company stillremains at risk of defaulting on billions of dollars of debt, despite releasing the results.
Petrobras became caught up in the scandal after former downstream director Paulo Roberto Costa was arrested on a number of charges, including corruption and embezzlement last year as part of an operation launched by Brazilian federal police to investigate money laundering crimes.