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US refinery probe reaches Brazil’s ex-president

11 Oct 2017, 9.55 pm GMT

US refinery probe reaches Brazil's ex-president

Rio de Janeiro, 11 October (Argus) — Brazil's federal audit court TCU has ordered a one-year freeze of assets of former President Dilma Rousseff, part of the court's investigation into state-controlled Petrobras' 2006 acquisition of the Pasadena refinery in Texas.

Rousseff, Petrobras' chairwoman at the time of the acquisition, had been excluded from past judgments dealing with the acquisition of the 100,000 b/d refinery in Pasadena, Texas, from Belgium's Transcor Astra, which the TCU says unjustly cost public coffers around $580mn.

Rousseff, who was impeached in August 2016, says there is no evidence that Petrobras' board committed any wrongdoing.

The TCU order also applies to the assets of Jose Sergio Gabrielli, Petrobras' chief executive between 2005-12, Rousseff's imprisoned former chief of staff Antonio Palocci, and three former Petrobras board members.

The acquisition of the refinery has been at the center of the massive Lava Jato investigation into systemic corruption at Petrobras. A handful of executives connected to the Pasadena deal have already been convicted of money laundering and corruption.

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