Brazil Energy Minister Braga Backs Petrobras CEO Foster Amid Corruption Scandal

Brianna Lee – International Business Times, 1/16/2015

Brazil’s energy minister this week threw his support behind the CEO of Petrobras, the embattled state-run oil company embroiled in a vast corruption scandal that has dominated national headlines. Maria das Graças Silva Foster will keep her job as chief executive, the minister said, despite growing demands for her resignation.

“I believe she is the right person because she is competent, and few others know the Petrobras system,” said Eduardo Braga, Brazil’s minister of mines and energy, in an interview with television network Globo Thursday evening.

Foster had been a top executive at Petrobras since 2006 and became CEO in 2012. Last year the company became the center of allegations that executives had colluded with construction and engineering firms to bump up the value of projects, with kickbacks paid to dozens of politicians as part of the scheme. The scandal, which allegedly occurred in the years before Foster became CEO, became a top issue in the October presidential election that eventually led to a narrow win for incumbent Dilma Rousseff. Foster has denied any involvement or knowledge of the deals, and Braga defended her position on Thursday.

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