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Petrobras Faces U.S.-based Class Action

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Source Globo | Valor Econômico

Topic: A Roster of Class Action Warriors in the Petrobras Case

U.S. law firm Levi & Korsisnky has filed another class action suit against Petrobras in New York, accusing the company of failing to prevent corruption in its ranks and of having overvalued its assets in its fiscal reports.  This brings the number of law suits in U.S. courts to ten.

Now it is up to the holders  of depository receipts (ADRs) — receipts for shares traded on the North American markets — to enter the fray against the company based on cases already filed. Investors who held a position in the company between May 2010 and November 2014 are qualified to participate.

The period 2006-2009 seems to be the most controversial, however, judging from the local press, because it corresponded to a national political cycle.

It was not until 2008-9 that the whistleblower in the case said she had begun to inform superiors of the risk that a corruption scheme might be growing in the bosom of the firm. She is said to have presented materials from as early as 2003 in her office drawer.

See also

So: is this period from 2006-2010 already a moot point based on Petrobras e-mails that give the lie to the whistleblower performance?

And speaking of the local press, how will the establishment media decide to play this sensitive, potentially explosive issue?

Headlines are divided today between the naming of names in the Petrobras scandal — leaked throughout the week by the Estado de S. Paulo —  and the powerful inaugural address of Dilma, who signaled her firm intention to throw out the bathwater and keep the baby.

Along with Levi & Korsisnky, another nine law offices have made the same decision:

  1. Wolf Popper (filed November 8)
  2. Rosen Law Firm,
  3. Pomerantz Law Firm,
  4. Brower Piven,
  5. Khan Swick & Foti (KSF),
  6. Glancy Binkow & Goldberg,
  7. Bronstein Gewirtz & Grossman (“This site may be hacked”),
  8. Faruqi & Faruqi, and
  9. Morgan & Morgan (motto: “For the People”).

None of these ring a bell as one of those gigantic legal powerhouses on the Battery Park breakwater or Park Avenue South, but we shall see.

On December 8, Wolf Popper LLP announced it was filing a class action against Petrobras in a district federal court in New York, on behalf of all the investors who bought ADRs between May 2010 e November 2014.

Another defender of the shareholder:

New York, N.Y., December 9, 2014.  The Rosen Law Firm announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of purchasers ofPetróleoBrasileiro S.A. -Petrobras securities (NYSE:PBR) during the period from May 20, 2010 through November 21, 2014. The class action seeks to recover investors’ losses under the federal securities laws.To join the Petrobras class action, go to the website  or call Phillip Kim, Esq. or Kevin Chan, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email pkim@rosenlegal.com or kchan@rosenlegal.com for information on the class action.

Violation of Rules

Returning to the Globo report:

The company is accused of violating SEC rules … SEC is the American CVM.  Petrobras has shares traded in New York, which gives U.S. authorities standing in the issue.

Petrobras is accused of divulging misleading information to shareholders, “twisting facts and failing to inform shareholders of a multibillion dollar bribery and money laundering scheme” that had operated in the company since 2006.

In November of this year, the SEC asked Petrobras for documents related to an investigation of its own of the Brazilian firm.

In a statement released at the time, the oil company said the documents would be delivered “after a joint undertaking with Brazilian law firm Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados and the U.S. firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, already retained by Petrobras to conduct an internal investigation.

Gibson Dunn and Crutcher I have certainly heard of. It defended Apple against Samsung, among other feats — “The firm is representing Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, in a $17 billion contract dispute with purported seed money financier Paul Ceglia.  It is something of a neocon political powerhouse:

The firm’s best-known attorneys and alumni include former United States Solicitors General Theodore Olson and Ken Starr, Eugene Scalia, and Miguel Estrada.

Scalia is the son of the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and has been castigated by Mother Jones magazine as the demolition expert assigned to the Dood-Frank financial sector reforms:

Ambrose Bierce once quipped that a lawyer is one skilled in the circumvention of the law. By that definition, Eugene Scalia is a lawyer of extraordinary skill. In less than five years, the 50-year-old son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has become a one-man scourge to the reformers who won a hard-fought battle to pass the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to rein in the out-of-control financial sector.”

On December 10, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. Dept. of Justice had brought criminal charges against the company.

The unanswered question here is how large the potential class for the class action will be, given the time period proposed? Will other class actions arise with reference to 2006-2014? It appears that Rosen wants to go down that road:

EQUITY ALERT: The Rosen Law Firm Announces Filing of Securities Class Action Against Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras to Recover Investor Losses – PBR

New York, N.Y., December 9, 2014.  The Rosen Law Firm announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of purchasers of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras securities (NYSE: PBR).

New York, N.Y., December 9, 2014.  The Rosen Law Firm announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of purchasers of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras securities (NYSE: PBR) during the period from May 20, 2010 through November 21, 2014. The class action seeks to recover investors’ losses under the federal securities laws during the period from May 20, 2010 through November 21, 2014. The class action seeks to recover investors’ losses under the federal securities laws.

Dilma and Co. have quite sternly rejoined that they were not informed of wrongdoing by the whistleblower until this year, and immediately took remedial action, such as immediate firings.