Brazil's GPA unable to account for payments to former minister
SAO PAULO, July 8 (Reuters) - GPA SA , Brazil's largest retailer, said late on Tuesday it is unable to account for 8 million reais ($2.48 million) in payments to the law firm of former Justice Minister Marcio Thomaz Bastos.
The payments totaled 8.5 million reais between December 2009 and May 2011, of which only 500,000 reais were found to correspond to legal consulting services, the company said.
Thomaz Bastos, who was justice minister between 2003 and 2007, died last year due to pulmonary failure.
They were made under the combined administration of Brazilian tycoon Abilio Diniz, at the time chairman of the company now known as GPA, and majority shareholder Casino Guichard Perrachon SA.
Local magazine Epoca reported in April that Thomaz Bastos' office had made a 3.5 million reais payment to the office of Antonio Palocci, a former presidential chief of staff who resigned from President Dilma Rousseff's cabinet following a scandal involving his consulting practice in 2011. Epoca said Palocci's lawyers attributed the payment to GPA.
A press representative for GPA said the company had no immediate plan to respond to the findings of its internal investigation. Palocci's consultancy firm said in a statement that proceeds from the GPA contract, which consisted of advising the company on an acquisition, were deposited by Thomaz Bastos' law firm.
Shares of São Paulo-based GPA were down 2.3 percent to 67.69 reais in early Wednesday trading.
($1 = 3.22 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by Paul Simao)
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