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Brazil’s oil giant stands up and fights against corruption

Graca Foster, a top executive at Petrobras, a Brazil-based oil company, has taken a stand against the corruption the company has been fighting for the past several months.

Foster addressed the issue today for the first time since the arrests of about two dozen people, including one of the company’s top executives.  Foster explained in a conference call with investors that the company wants to turn this difficult time into something better.

To do so, the company is creating a compliance department focused on stomping out corruption.  Foster states that she has the full support of the company’s board of directors’.   The department will be operating as soon as possible.

Foster commented on the state of the company and future goals:

Petrobras is a company that dreams to produce more and more oil and more and more transparency … We are going through a very difficult moment in the company, but we are convinced that we will have better management after we structure and implement all of these management improvement processes.

Due to the corruption, Petrobras will not be releasing its third quarter report until Dec. 12.  The results need to be revised and are still under investigation.

The corruption in the company has been going on for several months.  Top company officials took part in a kickback scheme that involved several billion dollars.  The money at some point made its way back to the governing Workers Party and other top parties for political campaigns.

The entire scheme is based on allegations towards Alberto Youssef, a convicted black-market money dealer.  Youssef stated that he had laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in the scheme and that the government party did benefit from it.

Youssef is now cooperating with police in exchange for a lighter sentence.  In his statement, Youssef claims that President Dilma Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula Silva were aware of the kickbacks.  Both leaders deny the allegation.

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