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News > Brazil

Brazil: Ex-President Rousseff Acquitted in Corruption Case

  • Former President Dilma Rousseff, Brasilia, Brazil.

    Former President Dilma Rousseff, Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: Twitter/ @KenRoth

Published 15 April 2021

Her assets were seized since the Pasadena refinery case began to be investigated over one decade ago.

Brazil's Court of Accounts (TCU) Wednesday acquitted former President Dilma Rousseff of responsibility in the irregular purchase of the U.S. Pasadena refinery by the state-owned Brazilian Oil Company (Petrobras).


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The TCU made the decision unanimously, finding that Rousseff was not involved in the multi-million dollar purchase, which was investigated as part of the "Car Wash" corruption case.

The Pasadena case began in 2006 when Rousseff was on the Petrobras executive board, during former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government. 

That year, she approved the purchase of half of the assets held by the Belgian Astra Oil company in the Pasadena refinery for US$360 million.

A year later, Petrobras and Astra signed a new agreement, under which Brazil committed to buying the other half of the assets for US$788 million. Nestor Cervero, the then director of Petrobras, signed the document.

In 2008, Rousseff denied having endorsed that agreement, which entailed over US$1 million in government investments. Her assets were seized since the scandal began to be investigated by the Justice.

The TCU found former Petrobras presidents Jose Gabrielli, Nestor Cervero, and Paulo Costa as the only ones guilty of the purchase's irregularities.

In 2019, Petrobras sold the Pasadena refinery to Chevron due to its high debt, the corruption scandal, and the crude oil price drop.

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