AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Shareholders in Brazilian state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) will have their demands for compensation over corruption at the company heard in the Netherlands, a Dutch court ruled on Wednesday.
The district court in Rotterdam said a preliminary hearing of the case against Petrobras, as the company is known, will be held on Dec. 18.
It will look into demands by shareholders for compensation for losses due to a long-running corruption scandal at the company, which has numerous subsidiaries headquartered in the Netherlands.
Shareholders, united in the Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation (SPCF), claim to have been misled by Petrobras as the company covered up widespread fraud for years, while issuing shares and bonds on the basis of false information.
Petrobras said in a regulatory filing it denies all the allegations made in the Dutch case and will continue to defend its interests.
The decision of the Dutch court to hear the case comes after Petrobras reached a $3 billion settlement with U.S. investors over corruption at the company. That deal was seen as a milestone as Petrobras seeks to turn the page on years of corruption that were revealed in a probe known as Operation Car Wash.
Documents released by the Rotterdam court on Wednesday did not specify the amount of compensation shareholders are demanding from the world’s most indebted oil company.
The stock market value of Petrobras has plunged as the investigation laid bare the company’s central role in the bribery schemes, which have entangled two former Brazilian presidents and dozens of the country’s corporate executives.
Reporting by Bart Meijer, editing by Angus MacSwan and Elaine Hardcastle