Federal Prosecutor’s Office taskforce decided to suggest to the Brazilian courts the suspension of the agreements signed with the United States courts to manage around R$ 1.2 billion in corruption lawsuits
After much controversy, Operation Car Wash’s taskforce in the Curitiba Federal Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) announced it was backing down from the intention of creating a foundation to manage billionaire Petrobras funds as part of an agreement signed between the Brazilian state-owned company and the United States courts.
In an official statement released on Tuesday (12), the MPF informed that it “chose to propose to the judge who ratified the agreement the suspension of the proceedings to constitute a foundation which would provide a public interest destination for the funds deposited in a judicial account.”
The decision happened after the Chamber of Deputies directing board threatened to appeal to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) against the creation of a foundation administered by the MPF. The plan also caused discomfort within the Federal Accounting Court (TCU).
Defeated by contrary arguments, the Prosecutor’s Office announced it began to hold talks with the Office of the Federal Controller General (CGU) and the TCU, as well as the Federal Attorney General and Petrobras, seeking a better legal solution so that these funds may remain in Brazil and be used on behalf of the Brazilian society.
Last week news surfaced that the US courts agreed that 80 percent of the amount Petrobras owed in the administrative process in which it is a defendant in the US should be paid in Brazil. The amount of R$ 2.5 billion has been deposited into an account associated with the Federal Courts in Curitiba.
According to the agreement made between the state-owned company and the Prosecutor’s Office, ratified by judge Gabriela Hardt, half of that amount (R$ 1.2 billion) will be used to pay financial compensations to shareholders to go to the courts for damages. The controversy, however, is still underway. The remainder of the money – the other R$ 1.2 billion – will be used for social projects and programs to fight corruption, yet to be defined by the foundation.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office was responsible for constituting this foundation, which will be private, and for writing the text of its statutory documentation, yet to be ratified by the Federal Courts. The agreement also stipulates that the MPF and the Paraná Prosecutor’s Office will have the prerogative to occupy one seat each in the directing board of the foundation to be created with Petrobras’ money.
The initiative was criticized by all sides, especially in the legislative and in the Federal Supreme Court. The main allegation is that it is not up to the MPF and the prosecutors to manage public funds – the government is Petrobras’ main shareholder.
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Força-tarefa do Ministério Público Federal decidiu sugerir à Justiça brasileira que suspenda o acordo firmado com a Justiça dos EUA para gerir cerca de R$ 1,2 bilhão em ações contra corrupção