Petrobras HQ raided by Brazil police in money-laundering probe

viernes 11 de abril de 2014 14:08 GYT

By Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's Federal Police raided the headquarters of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA in Rio de Janeiro as part of a money-laundering probe, two sources with direct knowledge of the operation told Reuters on Friday.

The police said they were exercising 23 search and arrest warrants in the cities of Sao Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro, Macae and Niteroi as part of its "Operação Lava Jato."

However, they did not confirm if Petrobras was one of the locations raided.

Portuguese for "Operation Car Wash," Operação Lava Jato has already resulted in the arrest of at least one former executive at Petrobras, as the company is known.

Petrobras officials were not immediately available for comment.

Paulo Roberto Costa, the former head of the company's refining and supply unit, was taken into custody on March 20 as part of the probe and is being held at a Federal Police jail in Curitiba, in Brazil's southern state of Parana.

The raid on Petrobras comes amid a series of scandals that has raised questions about its notoriously high costs, management difficulties and production delays. These problems have helped transform the company from one of the world's most sought-after investments into the world's most indebted and least profitable major oil company.

In 2008, following the discovery of giant offshore oil and gas resources, Petrobras' market value was nearly $300 billion, making it one of the world's six biggest companies. It is now worth less than $90 billion.   Continuación...