Former CEO of Brazil's Petrobras says no way to discover wrongdoing
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 12 (Reuters) - The former head of Petrobras said on Thursday there was no way the state-run oil company could have discovered the massive corruption scheme that is adding to Brazil's economic and political troubles.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, followed all internal procedure in approving more than $30 billion a year in spending, making it impossible to overcharge on projects, ex-Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli told a congressional committee in Brasilia investigating the corruption.
Gabrielli has not been charged but the government has frozen his assets.
"This is not about Petrobras. This is the result of actions by criminal individuals. It is a police matter," said Gabrielli, who lead the company from 2005 to 2012 when the bulk of the bribery, price-fixing and political kickback scheme took place.
"All procedures were followed. There is no way we could possibly have found these problems," he said.
Some commission members expressed skepticism that he could have missed the signs that government investigators found.
Two ex-Petrobras executives and former Gabrielli lieutenants have admitted to paying bribes to political parties and taking kickbacks.
Gabrielli said these payments were made by corrupt individuals and Petrobras was not involved nor was corruption systemic at the company.
Gabrielli warned that the case is weak and it threatens to shut down construction companies and shipyards across the county, putting thousands out of work. Continuación...