Petrobras (PBR -4.4%) CEO Maria das Graças Foster defends the 2006 decision to buy a refinery in Pasadena, Tex., against allegations the company had dramatically overpaid, telling Brazil's congress it purchased the 100K bbl/day refinery to maximize returns on heavy Brazilian oil in the U.S. market.
Opponents of Pres. Rousseff are pushing for a formal investigation into the $1.2B purchase, which they say was made for 20x the true value of the refinery.
The figure comes from the $42.5M Belgium's Astra Oil supposedly paid for the refinery in 2005, but Foster says Astra actually paid $360M.
Foster also reiterates Rousseff's recent claim that the approval of the 50% stake purchase by Petrobras' board was based on a faulty report from a former executive who was subsequently demoted.