UPDATE 1-Petrobras must face U.S. lawsuit over bribery, judge says

viernes 10 de julio de 2015 09:27 GYT

(Adds details on decision, quote from law firm)

NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has rejected Brazilian state-run oil producer Petrobras' effort to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that years of corruption, including bribery, caused more than $98 billion of its stock and bonds to be overvalued.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan was made public on Friday, and clears the way for investors to pursue much of their class action lawsuit. A trial could begin as soon as Feb. 1, 2016.

Rakoff dismissed some claims related to Petrobras bonds issued in 2012 and some claims based on non-U.S. transactions, and also said some claims should be arbitrated.

He said he will explain the legal reasoning behind his decision, which is dated Thursday, "in due course."

In a statement, Petrobras said it would "continue working firmly in defense of its rights."

Shareholders led by England's Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd alleged that Petrobras, whose formal name is Petroleo Brasileiro SA, artificially inflated the value of its securities by overstating the value of major assets.

The decision comes as Brazilian prosecutors pursue the largest corruption investigation in the country's history, focusing on what authorities have said was a years-long scheme involving bribery, price-fixing and political kickbacks.

Some of Brazil's most powerful executives have been accused of overcharging Petrobras while bribing politicians, mostly those affiliated with President Dilma Rousseff's Workers' Party.   Continuación...