Rousseff chaired the board of Petrobras in 2006 when it approved the
purchase of Pasadena Refining System Inc, near Houston.
Its high cost and losses later incurred at the refinery have put
Petrobras at the center of a growing political scandal that began
with bribery accusations and was fanned by the arrest of a former
director in connection with a money-laundering case.
The fall-out could complicate a re-election bid in October by
Rousseff, who has said she was not informed of two clauses in the
refinery contract that made it an onerous deal for Petrobras.
Petrobras chief executive at the time, José Sergio Gabrielli, told
the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper that both he and Rousseff were
responsible for the purchase that turned sour.
"I was president of the company. I cannot escape my responsibility,
and likewise President Dilma cannot escape her responsibility as
chairwoman of the board," he said.
Gabrielli echoed statements made by his successor at the helm of
Petrobras, Maria das Graças Foster, who told a Senate hearing on
Tuesday that the purchase was a good deal at the time but world
economic downturn turned it into a money loser.
"I still think that it was a good deal in 2006, a bad deal for the
market conditions in 2008-2011 and it became a good business once
again in 20113-2014," Gabrielli said, referring to the refinery
operation that turned its first profit for Petrobras in the first
two months of this year.
[to top of second column]
Petrobras bought 50 percent of the 100,000-barrel-per-day (bpd)
refinery for $360 million in 2006 from Belgium's Astra Oil in hopes
of maximizing returns on Brazilian heavy oil shipped to the United
Gabrielli said the Petrobras board would still have gone ahead with
the refinery deal even if it had been informed about the two clauses
Rousseff said she had no knowledge of: a Marlin clause that
compensated Astra for possible losses, and a put option that in 2012
forced Petrobras to buy the remaining stake as part of a $820.5
million legal settlement.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Bernard Orr)
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