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Shareholders in Brazil demand Petrobras match US$3b US settlement

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Petrobras on Wednesday agreed to settle a class action lawsuit in the United States that claimed damages for the oil company's role in a bribery scheme involving company executives and government officials. Petrobras said the settlement was not an admission of guilt and denied any wrongdoing.

[RIO DE JANEIRO] Brazilian shareholders of state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA are petitioning a Brazilian court to be paid on similar terms as those given to US shareholders in a US$2.95 billion settlement, a lawyer told Reuters on Thursday.

Petrobras on Wednesday agreed to settle a class action lawsuit in the United States that claimed damages for the oil company's role in a bribery scheme involving company executives and government officials. Petrobras said the settlement was not an admission of guilt and denied any wrongdoing.

"The voluntary act of Petrobras paying US$3 billion to foreign shareholders indicates it should pay proportional values to Brazilian shareholders," Andre de Almeida, a lawyer leading the shareholder lawsuit in Brazil, told Reuters.

"After all, the same facts, the same defendants, should have the same consequence, independent of the jurisdiction of the investment."

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Petrobras declined to comment.

Wednesday's settlement agreement, which must still be approved by a US court, was one of the largest ever class action settlements in the United States.

For the last four years Brazil has been rocked by the so-called Car Wash investigation into kickbacks from contractors to executives of state-run companies and politicians in return for public projects.

REUTERS