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SAO PAULO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vowed on Thursday to help implement the toughest corporate governance standards at state-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA, which is grappling with the worst corruption scandal of its history.
At a speech in Brasilia, Rousseff, 67, urged Brazilians not to lose faith in the company, commonly known as Petrobras and for years the nation's flagship firm. She called on the nation to engage on a "pact to fight corruption," which should lead to a broad reform of Brazil's political system.
Prosecutors allege that executives at Petrobras conspired for years to inflate the price of refineries, ships, advertising and other goods and services. They also allege contractors then kicked-back a percentage of the inflated contracts to executives and members of Rousseff's ruling coalition in the form of bribes and campaign contributions.
"We need to know how to investigate and punish, without hurting Petrobras," Rousseff said. "We have to punish people, not destroy companies."
Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Diane Craft