UPDATE 1-Brazil president under fire for Petrobras Texas refinery deal

martes 25 de marzo de 2014 18:41 GYT

(Adds justice minister's comments in seventh paragraph)

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA, March 25 (Reuters) - Opposition legislators asked Brazil's top prosecutor on Tuesday to investigate President Dilma Rousseff's role in the purchase of a Texas refinery by Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA which critics say was way overpriced.

Rousseff, who chaired the company's board at the time, said last week her approval of the 2006 purchase was based on a "flawed" and "incomplete" executive summary.

Mounting criticism of the deal puts her in a difficult position by providing her opponents with ammunition to attack her reputation as a good administrator just six months before she seeks reelection to a second term.

A group of lawmakers led by Senator Randolfe Rodrigues of the socialist PSOL party asked Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot to investigate whether Rousseff lied about the refinery deal.

Federal police are already probing the Pasadena, Texas refinery purchase. Investigators at Brazil's TCU audit court have questioned the value Petrobras paid for the asset, which processes about 100,000 barrels of crude a day, including the heavy crude that dominates Petrobras output.

Petrobras, as the company is known, paid $360 million to buy 50 percent of Pasadena Refining System Inc in 2006 from Belgium's Astra Oil NV, more than eight times what Astra paid for the whole refinery a year earlier. The price rose to $1.18 billion in 2012 after a dispute between Astra and Petrobras led to Petrobras' buyout of Astra's stake.

Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo said the call for a new probe added no new facts and was clearly an attempt to make political hay out of the case by focusing on the president.   Continuación...