UPDATE 1-Brazil's Rousseff says Petrobras critics distorting facts
(Adds Rousseff comments, Petrobras performance detail)
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Monday lashed out at critics of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, saying accusations of corruption, cost-overruns and stagnation at the state-run oil company were politically-motivated.
"I won't tolerate any type of wrongdoing, criminal action, influence peddling or corruption of any type no matter who commits it," Rousseff said in a campaign-style speech at the launching of an oil tanker at a shipyard near Recife, Brazil.
"At the same time I won't stand by quietly when people carry out a politically-motivated, negative campaign to hurt the company's image.
Petrobras, as the company is known, is at the center of a mushrooming corruption scandal including a police raid on its headquarters and the arrest of at least one former company director.
It may also face an investigation of one of its refineries in Texas.
The company, whose $221 billion five-year investment plan is one of the world's largest corporate spending programs, is also being investigated by police and prosecutors in Brazil, the United States and Europe over more than $100 million of alleged bribes to company officials by Netherlands-based SBM Offshore NV , an oil production ship leaser.
Despite discovering huge offshore resources in recent years, Petrobras' production has stagnated and domestic fuel price controls have forced it to boost money-losing gasoline and diesel imports. Its market value has slipped from nearly $300 billion in 2008, when it was one of the world's most valuable companies, to less than $100 billion. It is also the world's most indebted and least-profitable major oil company. Continuación...