By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Petrobras’ Board of Directors announced that it had agreed on settlements to end four individual lawsuits filed before the Federal Court of New York, in the United States. These agreements will join the other fifteen settlements announced on October and November of 2016. The oil giant, however, did not admit to any wrongdoing.
“These agreements, the terms of which are confidential, aim to eliminate uncertainties, charges and costs associated with the continuity of such disputes and do not constitute any acknowledgment of liability on the part of Petrobras, which will continue to firmly defend itself in other ongoing lawsuits,” says the press release issued on Friday night (February 24th).
The latest four settlements reached by Petrobras are part of a lot of 27 individual lawsuits and a class action suit filed in New York against the oil giant.
As a result of the agreements reached Petrobras says it currently expects the total cost of settlements paid in 2016 to be approximately US$372 million. According to the company however it cannot reliably estimate the outcome of the entire class action.
Petrobras president Pedro Parente declared February 1st that privatization is not on the state’s agenda. He also said he had no plans to step down. The statements were made in a speech to an investor audience, during the 2017 Latin American Investment Conference in the city of São Paulo.
Parente said he has no deadline to leave the state’s presidency, which he has held since May 2016. “As far as I’m concerned, I do not have time to leave. I am committed, along with the board and the board, to Petrobras to do what has to be done. ”
Once one of Brazil’s largest and most profitable companies, Petrobras fell into turmoil when a mega corruption scandal was uncovered involving some of the company’s directors and construction companies who bribed executives to obtain lucrative contracts.
In 2015 alone the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal involving Petrobras impacted on Brazil’s GDP by R$142.6 billion.
By 2016 the company had replaced most of its leading executives, had drastically reduced investments and had started to sell off assets to try to reduce its losses.