Brazil’s federal audit court ordered a freeze of former President Dilma Rousseff’s assets as well as those of José Sérgio Gabrielli, former head of state-run oil company Petrobras, over a US$580 million loss in the 2006 purchase of a Texas refinery.
The order also covered former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci and three members of the board of directors of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, who approved the controversial purchase.
The court, known as the TCU, said it detected “irregularities” in the purchase of the refinery in Pasadena, Texas, a move that it considered made no business sense.
Rousseff said in a statement that there was no evidence any crime was committed by Petrobras board members who approved the deal.
Petrobras paid US$360 million for half of Pasadena Refining in 2006, more than eight times what its previous owner, Astra Oil, a unit of Belgian-controlled Astra Transcor Energy, paid for the 112,000-barrel-a-day refinery a year earlier.
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