“Aren’t you just shocked, shocked that the National Security Agency has been spying on Brazilian oil giant Petrobras? I’m not. In fact it would be more shocking if the NSA weren’t gathering every fact it could on Brazil and Petrobras, a bloated, state-controlled behemoth reportedly rife with corruption.”
That’s what wrote Forbes’ Christopher Helman. Here’s a snipe of the article:
“The company is Brazil’s biggest. Brazil relies on it to supply low-cost, subsidized fuel for its growing economy, even though that subsidy policy has forced the company to eat $8 billion a year in foregone income and sell assets and bonds to make ends meet. Efforts to rein in those subsidies to limit refining losses were met with riots this summer. Meanwhile, the Brazilian real has been falling against the U.S. dollar, dramatically pushing up Petrobras’ costs of servicing its $75 billion in mostly dollar-denominated debt — more than any other oil company.
A weakened Petrobras means a weakened Brazil…
This is all to say that what goes on at Petrobras is part and parcel with the Rousseff administration.The NSA spying on Petrobras is no different from the NSA spying on the Brazilian government. And if you’re surprised and disturbed that the U.S. government spies on other governments then you just need to wake up.”
The author basically implies that Petrobras is corrupt and lies to American companies that invest in Brazil… here it goes
“American oil giants found doing business in Brazil to be complicated, at best. As disclosed in a 2006 U.S. State Department cable revealed by Wikileaks, the U.S. companies complained that
Frequent strikes and unending paperwork made import/export procedures a challenge. The added liability of doing business in Rio de Janeiro, the country’s de facto petroleum capital, only increased their headaches. The recurrent violence and constant threat of kidnap made it hard to attract expatriates to work there. Putting the best face he could on the situation, one company manager pointed out that at least the situation was better than that in Bolivia – though, despite all of President Chavez’s antics, it was worse than that in Venezuela.
Another cable stated that the oil companies, in conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, “expressed concern about the recent unstable investment environment” in Brazil. An executive of Devon Energy “added that Petrobras had lied about the easy prospects of finding oil” in ultra-deep prospects.
Corruption was a one of the problems they faced there. In 2007 three Petrobras executives were arrested along with directors of three Brazilian shipyards on suspicion of bid fixing.
In 2009 Petrobras was investigated by the Brazilian senate for allegedly cheating on tax returns and skimming cash from contracts.
This year Argentine businessman Cristobal Lopez and his Grupo Indalo has reportedly been investigated for allegedly bribing Petrobras executives in connection with acquisition of a 51% stake in Petrobras’ Argentinian operations. The $800 million deal was subsequently canceled by Petrobras.
Also this summer, a former JP Morgan banker Hernan Arbizu has reportedly testified that he helped Argentine clients including Petrobras Argentina “move billions of dollars into offshore accounts, in order to evade paying taxes.”