The charitable organization run by Bill Gates is suing Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, in order to reclaim losses resulting from a corruption scandal at the oil company. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in New York.
The complaint states that Petrobras’ “pervasive bribery and money laundering scheme” led to the Gates Foundation losing tens of millions of dollars by investing in the oil company.
Another plaintiff, WGI Emerging Markets Fund LLC, is also on the side of Gates, having lost money as well.
The complaint stated, “Indeed, the scandal still seems to escalate by the day – as more guilty pleas, more arrests, and more secret bank accounts are uncovered.”
This lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions against Petrobras, as the Brazilian company had allegedly practiced various methods of corruption and bribery for many years. As a result of these practices, it managed to artificially inflate the value of more than $98 billion of company stocks and bonds.
The market value of Petrobras has plummeted by over 90% from nearly $300 billion just seven years prior. In April, the company took a $17 billion write-down for overvalued assets.
Prosecutors have stated that over $2 billion in bribes were paid across a decade. Most of these bribes were paid to executives of Petrobras from construction and engineering companies.
Additionally, a Brazilian affiliate of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditor of Petrobras, is also a defendant in the case alongside Petrobras.
Lawyers for both sides did not offer any comments on the situation.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 2000, and it focuses on improving education and access to healthcare, while also reducing poverty. With a $41.3 billion endowment, the organization is among the largest charities in the world. The charity is based in Seattle.