"As a result of the Brazilian criminal investigation Lava Jato, it became public knowledge in 2014 that fraud had been committed within the Brazilian oil company Petrobras at a very large scale and during several years. Bribes had been paid to high-ranking officials of the company and to Brazilian politicians to enter into contracts. As a result, Petrobras overpaid for services rendered to it and for goods it purchased. In 2014 and 2015, the market prices of Petrobras' shares and bonds dropped markedly.
On 26 July 2023, the Rotterdam district court rendered a judgement in a collective action against Petrobras, several (former) group companies and several former executives of Petrobras. This action was filed on behalf of those Petrobras investors that were not subject to a previous US Class Settlement. The court held that Petrobras' conduct towards its investors had been unlawful, as Petrobras had not met its duty of care to prevent the fraud and as a result had provided them with incorrect information. PGF, a Dutch subsidiary of Petrobras, has acted unlawful towards Petrobras bondholders as it had failed to sufficiently verify the correctness of the information that it provided to the market. The court also held that several former executives of Petrobras, who had accepted bribes, have acted unlawfully. It is sufficiently likely that Petrobras investors have suffered damages as a result hereof.
Two former CEO's of Petrobras were also a party to these proceedings. The court found the claims against them to be unfounded. The same applies to several other Petrobras group companies.
The 26 July 2023 ruling is not the final step in these proceedings. The court has appointed an expert to answer several questions under Brazilian, Argentinian and Luxemburg law.