Petrobras Investors Can Pursue Bribe Lawsuit on Some Claims

A lawyer demanding billions of dollars from Petroleo Brasileiro SA for investors claimed victory in a fight with the Brazilian oil giant over whether they can pursue their suit, saying a judge had refused to completely throw it out.

The company said in a separate statement that the judge threw out some claims related to a 2012 bond issuance in the U.S. and referred requests related to acquisition of shares in Brazil to arbitration.

The ruling by a Manhattan federal judge couldn’t immediately be confirmed in court records or with the judge’s chambers. The judge asked both sides to present proposals by July 15 for the next stages of the case to make it ready for trial no later than Feb. 1, 2016, Petrobras said.

Jeremy Lieberman, a partner at Pomerantz LLP, said he was pleased with the judge’s decision, which allows investors to fight to recover lost value on their securities. Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, said the judge dismissed parts of the case and it will continue to defend itself.

“We look forward to aggressively litigating our case and working to achieve a substantial recovery for harmed shareholders,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Investors accuse executives of the state-owned oil company, known as Petrobras, of publishing misleading financial statements and overstating the quality of their internal controls during a multibillion-dollar money-laundering and bribery scheme that rocked Brazil’s economy and slashed the value off the oil giant’s securities.

Petrobras argued that the investors’ case should be thrown out because it was a victim of the plot, run by contractors and “rogue” politicians with help from a few corrupt employees. The cash traded for political favors came out of its hide, the company has said.

The case is In re Petrobras Securities Litigation, 14-cv-09662, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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