Suspected Sale: Landulpho Alves Refinery in Bahia Sold Below Market Value to Arabs Amidst Controversial Circumstances


Claiming that the Landulpho Alves Refinery in Bahia was sold at the incorrect time and with mistakes in the sales procedure, a recent study has shed light on the sale of Petrobras to Arabs for less than its market value when the Bolsonaro government was in power. The auditors from the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) discovered that the Landulpho Alves Refinery was sold to an Abu Dhabi investment firm, Mubadala Capital fund, associated with the UAE royal family, at a price significantly below its market value.

The CGU audit report, which served as the source for CNN’s report, reveals that the refinery was sold for only US$1.65 billion, which is considerably less than the asking price. The transaction was finalized at a later date, leading to a lower valuation due to the declining economic indices and the global COVID-19 pandemic. The unfavorable economic conditions during that period further diminished the refinery’s worth, making it a less favorable deal for Petrobras.

According to the CGU research, Petrobras could have postponed the sale until oil prices recovered on the global market. The report highlights that despite the intense market volatility, Petrobras took a risk by proceeding with the binding proposals stage and maintaining the negotiation phase. This decision, as per the report, may have been influenced by the unconventional methodology employed for the sale of Brazilian state-owned firms and an uncertain economic outlook.

In addition to the concerns regarding the timing and sales procedure, the CGU audit report also raises questions about a separate incident involving former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. It has been reported that members of the royal family gifted several valuable jewels to Bolsonaro during his time in office, including sculptures made from gold, silver, diamonds, and a watch set with precious stones. The Federal Police are already investigating this incident and its potential connection to the sale of the refinery.

Opposition leaders have voiced their concerns about the privatization process, highlighting the inconsistencies that are detrimental to public assets and Brazilian consumers. Senator Messias, the Senate opposition leader, has repeatedly denounced this privatization and its negative consequences.

CGU minister Vinicius Marques de Carvalho confirmed on social media that the Federal Police are involved in the audit conducted by the organization. The CGU report has already been published on their website, and the Federal Police had access to it prior to its release.

Despite these significant findings, both the current management of Petrobras and former president Jair Bolsonaro have not yet responded to CNN’s requests for comment regarding the CGU audit. CNN has also attempted to contact Joaquim Silva e Luna, who was the head of Petrobras when the refinery was sold, for his perspective on the matter.

With these revelations from the CGU audit report, questions continue to arise surrounding the sale of the Landulpho Alves Refinery, further fueling the debate on the government’s decisions regarding state-owned assets and privatization processes. The involvement of the Federal Police in the investigation adds another layer of significance to this issue, as the repercussions of the sale and the potential link to the gifting of valuables to Bolsonaro are yet to be fully understood.