November 1, 2014 / 12:41 PM / 5 years ago

Auditor refuses to sign off Brazil Petrobras' Q3 results -Estado

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Petrobras failed to get its third-quarter earnings approved by PriceWaterhouseCoopers as the auditing firm demanded wider investigation into a corruption scandal plaguing the state-run oil company, newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo said on Saturday.

Directors of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the oil firm is formally known, halted a Friday board meeting before making any decisions and rescheduled it for Tuesday, a source told Reuters without providing details. A possible fuel price increase was expected to be discussed on Friday.

Estado reported that Petrobras’ board, which is presided by Finance Minister Guido Mantega, spent the meeting discussing how to handle PwC’s demands for more investigation into an alleged corruption scheme uncovered by Brazil’s federal police.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which has been auditing Petrobras’ financial statements since 2012, refused to sign off on the firm’s third-quarter earnings and threatened to take the case to U.S. authorities, Estado said. Petrobras’ shares are listed on several different exchanges, including Sao Paulo’s BM&FBovespa and the New York Stock Exchange.

PwC’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. To Estado, the auditing company said it would not make comments on its clients.

Petrobras’ representatives were not immediately available to comment.

Brazil’s federal police has been investigating a scam that allegedly received kickbacks from Petrobras contractors and funneled funds to President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party and its allies in Congress.

The allegations were made in plea bargain statements made by former Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa and a black-market money dealer called Alberto Youssef, who were arrested in March in a money laundering investigation.

Petrobras announced last week it was hiring two law firms to independently investigate the corruption allegations, which were a key theme in the run-up to the presidential election won by Rousseff last weekend. (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte and Marta Nogueira; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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