May 8, 2017 / 3:38 PM / a year ago

Brazil's Petrobras says Bolivia director under house arrest

SAO PAULO/LA PAZ, May 8 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras said the head of its Bolivian operation was under house arrest due to a disputed payment with a local contractor.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, said late on Sunday that $2.5 million of a $9.5 million earthworks contract in the San Antonio petroleum bloc was under dispute.

A lawyer for the contractor, Vialco SRL, told Bolivian newspaper El Deber that Petrobras owed it more than $2.5 million, while Petrobras says it had paid in full.

Petrobras, the world’s most indebted oil company, has been hit by a massive corruption scandal and low oil prices in recent years.

The company said its “legal representative” in Bolivia had been under house arrest in Santa Cruz since March 22, and a court had turned down a request to jail him on May 2. Local media said the legal representative was Bolivia director Marcos Antunes.

Reuters could not immediately reach Vialco SRL or its lawyer. Petrobras said it was confident the house arrest would soon be overturned. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal in Sao Paulo and Daniel Ramos in La Paz; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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