Ex-Petrobras executive asks Brazilian court to block dividend payment

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Guilherme Estrella, a former head of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, has filed a lawsuit to block the company’s payment of dividends. In a filing Friday evening, Petrobras reported that Estrella, a former director of exploration and production, requested the blocking of 32.1 billion reais ($6.6 billion) in dividends that would be paid. in advance to the federal government, as approved in July. Estrella requests that studies be carried out to prove that the distribution of dividends does not compromise the competitiveness of the company.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours. The move represents another question the company faces regarding its generous payout policy this year amid rising profits fueled by rising oil prices. On Friday, prosecutors at Brazil’s TCU Court of Auditors asked to suspend dividends of about 43.7 billion reais announced by Petrobras last week due to stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit. According to Reuters calculations, the amount is more than double the average shareholder benefit paid by each of the five largest Western oil producers.

($1 = 5.0557 reais)

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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