By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, sat for almost three hours in front of a Congressional Committee created to investigate corruption allegations within the state-controlled petroleum giant and said nothing.

Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, refuses to testify at Congressional Committee, photo by Geraldo Magela/Agencia Brasil.

“I have nothing to declare,” said Costa over eighteen times to Senators and Chamber Representatives who asked him questions about the illegal kickback accusations he made against approximately thirty politicians, congressmen, governors and state ministers.

The legislators even proposed to close the session, making it a secret what ever the former executive had to say, but that did not persuade the former executive. “It (the session) can remain open because I will continue to hold the position that I have nothing to declare,” he repeated.

Mr. Costa has been under arrest since March accused of money laundering. He has since entered a plea-bargaining deal with prosecutors for a lighter sentence in exchange to giving the courts the names of those who benefited from the illegal money schemes while he was a director (2004-2012).

The Petrobras scandal has been seen as a threat to President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election plans, with the administration scrambling to control the damage which may spill over onto the Presidency less than three weeks from election day. The issue however has been dominating election campaigns, with opposition candidates Marina Silva (PSB – Socialist Party) and Aecio Neves (PSDB – Social Democrat Party) questioning how much Rousseff knew about the kickbacks and how many of her political allies were involved.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


  1. Dear Editor,

    Can someone please explain what this means: Costa makes very serious accusations – while being held on money-laundering charges – against 30 people, and then refuses to answer questions regarding these accusations in open testimony. What kind of a witness will he be in open court? His credibility as a witness no longer exists and I would expect the people he accused to – at least – sue him for defamation of character. Will this “Escândalo do Mensalão II” all blow away now? Just wondering.


    Paul R.

  2. He refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing/testimony, which is more like a political show aimed at influencing the elections. He will probably still testify in open court. Who knows what is behind his plea bargain…


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