ROTTERDAM, Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An International coalition announced today that a lawsuit was filed in Dutch Court yesterday on behalf of institutional investors who suffered billions of dollars in losses in their investments in Petroleo Brasiliero SA (“Petrobras”). Seeking declaratory relief as a result of the alleged corruption of the company and its executives, the coalition represents investors who purchased Petrobras securities on the BM&FBOVESPA exchange in Brazil and other securities purchased via transactions outside of, and not covered by, litigation in the United States. The damaged investor group believes the Netherlands is the optimal jurisdiction for pursuing legal action, as this is where Petrobras Global Finance B.V. and several other Petrobras entities and divisions are domiciled. In addition, the Dutch legal system has an established global settlement precedent for international investors who seek compensation pursuant to damages caused by fraud and violations of international securities laws.
The 172-page Writ alleges that when years of complex fraud and bribery schemes orchestrated by management and officials of Petrobras were finally revealed to the public in 2014, investors lost billions of dollars, euros and Brazilian reals, resulting from significant asset write-downs and precipitous declines in Petrobras share prices.
The Writ has been filed by the Dutch based Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation (“Foundation”) represented by a coalition of Dutch, US, Brazilian and UK law firms and supported by a large group of international investors and International Securities Associations and Foundations Management Company Ltd. (“ISAF”). The Foundation is a not for profit entity acting on behalf of a class of damaged Petrobras investors. The Foundation is led by highly experienced and independent board members, including: Mr. H. Th. Bouma (Chairman), a former law partner at Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn and former deputy judge at the Court of Appeal in The Hague; Mr. A.H. Korthals, former Defense Secretary of the Dutch government and former Justice Secretary of the Dutch government; Mr. C.J. Vriesman, former acting Mayor of the municipality of Den Helder and former Director General for the National Forest Service and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. More information about the Foundation’s board and Supervisory Board can be found on the Foundation website (http://www.pbcompensation.com/).
Goals of the Legal Action & How to Recover Losses
The litigation in the Netherlands is supported and financed by ISAF and provides a vehicle for damaged investors to litigate for compensation and to establish a binding settlement for the securities involved in the litigation. Eligible Petrobras investors are participating on a “success fee only” basis, with no risk or upfront cost.
The Foundation invited Petrobras et al to discuss an equitable resolution for the damage caused to investors represented by the Foundation. To date, that invitation has not been accepted, hence litigation has now commenced.
The Netherlands is the Optimal Jurisdiction for suing Petrobras in this case
Via the Foundation, Dutch and International investors are pursuing legal action in The Netherlands, where Petrobras Global Finance B.V. and several other Petrobras entities and divisions are domiciled. Furthermore, the effects of the alleged Fraud extended into The Netherlands. The Foundation litigation and settlement efforts cover the principal Petrobras equity securities traded on the BM&FBOVESPA in Sao Paolo and via linked markets such as Latibex on Bolsa De Madrid, together with certain Euro, Sterling and USD denominated bonds issued via Petrobras Global Finance B.V. The coalition’s decision to pursue litigation in The Netherlands, also considers the fact that if the parties decide to settle during the litigation, the Dutch legal system has an established global settlement precedent for international investors who seek compensation caused by fraud and violations of international securities laws.
United States Securities Lawsuits
The lawsuits filed in the US on behalf of investors cover losses in American Depository Shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange and certain US dollar denominated bonds. That means investor losses stemming from shares that traded on the BM&FBOVESPA and certain bonds, including Euro denominated bonds, are not included in the US class action and opt-out lawsuits.
ISAF, in conjunction with a coalition of international and cross-jurisdictional law firms, has extensively researched the prospect of initiating arbitration between damaged investors and Petrobras before the Market Arbitration Chamber of the BM&FBOVESPA exchange in Brazil. This analysis, coupled with analysis executed by institutional investors independent of ISAF, leads to the conclusion that the Dutch litigation strategy organized by the Foundation and ISAF is the optimal and most likely route to a meaningful recovery for damaged investors.
About the Shareholder Foundation
Foundation Organizers. Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation, a Netherlands-based foundation that acts on behalf of damaged Petrobras investors, has appointed ISAF to interact with investors, law firms, service providers, and media and to undertake all administrative tasks, including the collection of client trading data, loss calculations, loss certification, and all aspects of documentation handling. In addition, ISAF will finance all litigation costs, including legal fees, experts’ fees, processing, data collection, administration, and claims administration, including potential payout administration.
Law Firms. Lemstra Van der Korst N.V., a leading Dutch litigation and class action law firm acts on behalf of the Foundation and is consulting with securities litigation firms, Motley Rice and Lowey Dannenberg Cohen & Hart and Withers LLP and Brazilian law firms.
Claims Analysis and Processing. Battea Class Action Services, LLC, an international leader in the class action securities claims filing space, has been retained to collect client data and process and validate investor loss calculations.