10 de diciembre de 2014 / 0:53 / en 3 años

UPDATE 1-Petrobras receives citation in New York class action lawsuit

(Adds details on lawsuit, share price)

BRASILIA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA received a citation on Tuesday in the class-action lawsuit filed in New York over billions of dollars in investor losses stemming from an alleged kickback and bribery scheme.

The citation came from an investor who claims the company, known as Petrobras, made misleading statements to the market, the company said in a securities filing.

The investor, Peter Kaltman, is suing for compensation for share price losses and is seeking to represent all investors who bought U.S.-traded depositary receipts of the Rio de Janeiro-based company, the statement said.

The suit was filed on Monday by law firm Wolf Popper LLP in the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who bought Petrobras ADRs between May 20, 2010 and Nov. 21, 2014. The case seeks a jury trial and as yet unspecified damages.

The complaint alleges that Petrobras failed to disclose “a culture of corruption at the company that consisted of a multi-billion dollar money-laundering and bribery scheme embedded in the company since 2006.”

During the period covered by the lawsuit, Petrobras’ market value dropped to about $60 billion from about $150 billion, even though it sold nearly $70 billion in new shares in September 2010 in what was then the world’s largest offering of stock.

Petrobras said it was cooperating with ongoing investigations. Two former Petrobras directors are among two dozen people who have been arrested in connection with an alleged scheme to skim money from overpriced contracts into the coffers of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party and ruling coalition.

Brazilian police estimate that the scheme moved about 10 billion reais.

Brazil’s prosecutor-general Rodrigo Janot on Tuesday called for the replacement of Petrobras’ top management and punishment of everyone involved in the alleged graft scheme.

Petrobras shares extended nine-year lows in midday trading on the Sao Paulo stock market. The company’s preferred shares, its most-traded stock, fell 4.7 percent to 10.96 reais, but later recovered to close at 11.36 reais. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Diane Craft)

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