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Brazil Court freezes former President Dilma Rousseff's assets over 2006 refinery deal

Dilma Rousseff

Brasilia, Oct 12 (UITV/IANS) - Brazil's Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) has frozen former President Dilma Rousseff's assets for her alleged role in a 2006 deal when oil giant Petrobras acquired a refinery in Pasadena in the US state of Texas.

The move on Wednesday, approved by the TCU to last for a year, also froze the assets of former finance minister, Antonio Palocci, former Petrobras president, Jose Sergio Gabrielli, and other members of Petrobras' board, Xinhua news agency reported.

Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational corporation in the petroleum industry headquartered in Rio de Janeiro.

According to the TCU, in 2006, Petrobras approved the acquisition of the refinery for a cost of $580 million, which was felt to be far too expensive given the "uneconomic criteria adopted to define the price of the refinery".

At the time Petrobras took control of 50 per cent of the refinery, Rousseff was chief of staff to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. She also chaired the Petrobras board of directors.

In 2014, when the scandal concerning the refinery first emerged, Rousseff said she only approved the deal due to having received "incomplete information" for a "technically and judicially flawed" report.

Last year, the former President was impeached by Congress in her second term for fiscal irregularities and replaced by her Vice-president Michel Temer.