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Ohio PERS seeks lead-plaintiff status in Petrobras lawsuit

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Columbus, is seeking lead-plaintiff status in a consolidated class-action lawsuit against Brazilian oil and gas company Petroleo Brasileiro SA for violations of federal securities laws.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed the motion Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court in New York on behalf of the $90 billion pension fund, said Dan Tierney, Mr. DeWine’s spokesman.

PERS joins public pension funds in Hawaii and Idaho in filing for lead-plaintiff status. Mr. Tierney said other Ohio pension funds are class participants in the lawsuit, but PERS’ investments in the company, known as Petrobras, are significantly higher, which is why it is seeking lead-plaintiff status.

The class-action lawsuit would consolidate a number of existing class-action suits against the company, which has recently revealed it is making significant adjustments to financial statements. A news release from Mr. DeWine also mentions how Brazilian prosecutors have alleged the company has been involved in bribes and kickbacks for projects.

Officials at Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie’s office and Todd Dvorak, spokesman for Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden, did not return phone calls by press time.