Former Petrobras director of refining Paulo Roberto Costa. Image courtesy of Geraldo Magela/Agência Senado.

Jailed former Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa admitted Thursday to taking a $636,000 bribe in connection with the state-owned company’s 2006 purchase of a Texas refinery.

Costa received the bribe as part of a kickback scheme linked to the purchase of a Pasadena, Texas refinery from Belgian-based Transcor Astra Group, Brazilian news program Jornal Naciona said.

Petrobras spent about $1.25 billion on the 100,000 barrel per day refinery, including hefty legal fees incurred when the deal went into arbitration.

The company has written off $500 million of the investment.

Petrobras holds a 51 percent stake in the refinery.

Costa alleges that politicians from both major political parties received three percent of a contract’s value for deals signed by Petrobras while he served as director of refining from 2004 to 2012, FCPA Blog News Service said.

More than 25 politicians have been connected to the investigation.

Costa was arrested in March as part of a money laundering investigation.

In July, Costa was also charged with bribery.

Costa has been cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating allegations of money laundering and bribery at Petrobras.

Brazilian police are also investigating $20 billion in transactions between Petrobras and construction firms involved in the company’s Abreu e Lima Refinery near Recife, Brazil.

The names of the companies being investigated and the size of the alleged bribes have not been disclosed.

In March, Brazilian prosecutors began investigating allegations that Petrobras employees took $139 million in bribes from Netherlands-based supplier SBM Offshore in exchange for equipment supply and drilling contracts.


Leave a Reply