Dutch Court Enters Interim Merits Judgment in Favor of Petrobras Investors

Petrobras Shareholders Litigation

By Kevin LaCroix

In a milestone development in the long-running Dutch collective investor action brought against Petrobras and related entities, a Netherlands court has ruled on the merits in favor of the Foundation bringing the action on behalf of investors, holding that Petrobras harmed investors by publishing misleading financial information. Though the case is not done – the Court will next consider certain legal issues pertaining to the investors’ claimed damages – the Court’s recent ruling is an important step in this significant and high-profile case. An English translation of the Court’s July 26, 2023, judgment can be found here. The July 26, 2023, press release of the International Securities Association & Foundations Management Company, the administrator of the Foundation brining the action, which summarizes the rulings in the Court’s judgment, can be found here.


The Dutch investor action relates to the massive Brazilian corruption investigation – known in English as Operation Car Wash – that, among other things, resulted in the Petrobras’s agreement to pay $853.2 million to U.S. and Brazilian authorities. The corruption investigation was also the subject of a U.S. securities class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Petrobras investors who bought Petrobras securities in the U.S.  The U.S. securities class action lawsuit ultimately settled for $3 billion. A separate action on behalf of certain investors who purchased Petrobras shares on the Brazilian stock exchange remains pending in the Market Arbitration Chamber of the Brazilian exchange.

The action pending in the Dutch court was initiated in 2017 and is being pursued on behalf of investors who purchased Petrobras securities on the Brazilian stock exchange formerly known as Bovespa and now known Brazil Bolsa Balcão S.A. or B3, as well as on the Latibex Bolsa Madrid (Spain) and the Luxemburg Stock Exchange (Luxemburg) and other exchanges. The claims are being pursued on the investors’ behalf by Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation (SPCF). The Foundation seeks a declaratory judgment that the defendants misled investors by concealing the bribery scheme, publishing misleading financial information and deceiving investors.

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Petrobras Shareholders Litigation