RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Maria das Graças Foster, chief executive of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, will continue to run the embattled state oil company so that she can lead a corruption clean-up process, Brazil’s Energy Minister Eduardo Braga said on Thursday.
Braga made the statement on the Miriam Leitão show on GloboNews, a Brazilian 24-hour TV news channel, GloboNews said on its Web site.
The full interview with Braga is scheduled to run at 9:30 p.m. (2330 GMT), GloboNews said. Braga is also expected to talk about problems and changes in the country’s power industry.
Calls for Foster’s resignation from Petrobras, as the company is popularly known, have grown since November, when the company delayed the release of its third-quarter results until at least the end of January. That came after Petrobras’ auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers declined to certify the results in the wake of a giant contract fixing, bribery and political kick-back scheme.
Company executives allegedly conspired with construction and engineering firms to inflate the value of projects. They then kicked back much of the excess to executives, politicians and political parties as bribes and campaign contributions.
Foster, who became CEO in 2012, has been a top Petrobras executive since 2006 and was involved in decision making for projects now being investigated by police and prosecutors.
She has denied wrongdoing and has not been named as an alleged participant in the scandal.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a long-time associate of Foster and her ultimate boss, has said she plans to keep Foster in her job and that she has confidence in Foster and other senior company executives. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Bernadette Baum)