Fox News Resurrects Petrobras Conspiracy Theory

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Fox News has revived the false conspiracy theory that President Obama arranged for an Export-Import Bank loan to a Brazilian oil company in order to enrich George Soros at the expense of the United States. In fact, the loan in question was approved by a Bush-appointed bank board and will go toward the purchase of U.S. goods and services.

Fox Hosts Renew Smear That Obama Conspired To Loan Petrobras $2 Billion In Order To Enrich Soros

Bolling: "The Obama Administration" "Made $2 Billion Available To Petrobras." During a guest appearance on Fox & Friends, Eric Bolling, host of Fox Business' Follow The Money said:

BOLLING: You know, Brazil -- you guys ran a sound clip yesterday of Obama saying, "By the way, Brazil, go ahead. Go drill oil, we want you to drill. Here's a, you know." They made $2 billion available to Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant.

[Crosstalk]

BOLLING: We did, the Obama administration. Basically saying, "Go ahead. You guys drill. We want to be your biggest and best customer." Well, he's basically saying, "We want to be more dependent on foreign oil. Not less dependent."

We're going in the absolute wrong direction. They should make drilling here more available rather than there. Can I just say, real quickly, I know you guys want to jump in, but here's an article out of New Orleans saying the one brand-new permit, the single only brand-new permit since the BP disaster 11 months ago, is a milestone. Why is it a milestone for us to drill? For one -- one well.

Meanwhile, we make $2 billion available to the Brazilian government -- not even the Brazilian government, to a private company.

[...]

CARLSON: Let's go back to Brazil for a minute because there is a connection with George Soros.

BOLLING: Yeah.

CARLSON: What is it?

BOLLING: Okay. Let's do this. We're going to get blasted for this, but George Soros owned, at one point owned, 22 million shares of Petrobras, the company that has available to it those $2 billion in drilling loans. They haven't tapped it. It's available through the Import-Export Bank, which is in the U.S. It allows them to tap $2 billion.

Now, the question is, did he know? Does he know? Who knows? But I will tell you one thing, it's been a great trade for him. It's been very profitable and as everyone knows, George Soros is one of the big contributors to MoveOn.org, big contributor to the Obama--

KILMEADE: And did he know the president was going to say this $2 billion deal? That's what you're saying.

BOLLING: You know what, George Soros has the best information money can buy. I can't make that leap, but maybe he did.

DOOCY: So he stands to make some dough on this?

BOLLING: Oh, he made a ton of money. He made a boatload of money. He sold 22 million shares of common stock, making a ton of money, but then bought preferred shares, which means he still has an investment in Petrobras.

I gotta tell you, I don't hear the $2 billion going to U.S. companies looking to drill. Small drillers would love to have access to that money to borrow and go ahead and drill. But even if they could get the money, they still can't get the permit to drill. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/24/11]

Cavuto Promotes Smear That Obama Is Giving $2 Billion To Brazil At Expense Of U.S. Economy. From Neil Cavuto's Fox Business interview of Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates:

CAVUTO: Welcome everybody, I'm Neil Cavuto. And now we know what the president and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff really talked about when they pow-wowed this past weekend: oil. Just not in this country, in Rousseff's country. Apparently we are paying for the honor. The U.S. set to lend Brazil $2 billion to produce energy offshore Brazil. What's more that this commitment letter to Brazil's Petrobras offers the possibility of increasing that amount.

Again, for oil off Brazil's shores. Not our shores. Which has a bunch of folks, well, off of our shores sure fired up. To one of them in a second. To what this means right now. We're more interested in finding oil off another country than pursuing the ample supplies readily available in this country. Now eager nations are no doubt lining up to get a piece of the action. Our money for their oil and in the gulf, a growing rage over the president's seemingly growing more out of touch as the "Wall Street Journal" succinctly put it today, "underwriting in Brazil what we won't allow at home."

[...]

CAVUTO: Now we have this deal with Brazil. And it is told to be very beneficial to us because we will be a big customer. I guess we should take some comfort at least this is closer to home but it is not home. What do you make of it?

LIPOW: Well, I think the money would be better spent in the Gulf of Mexico. We're assisting Brazil to drill in their deep waters, sending rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to drill in their deep waters. And meanwhile we're very, very slowly issuing permits. And people along the Gulf Coast are waiting for jobs to appear. The bottom line is it still makes us more reliant on foreign sources of oil.

CAVUTO: All right. Interesting stuff, Andy, thank you very much. The government today issuing Exxon Mobil a permit to drill in the gulf. It is only the fourth one issued since the whole BP spill last summer. My next guest says it's simply too little drilling too late. He's the guy who sued the government over its drilling ban put in place after that spill. Hornbeck Offshore CEO, Todd Hornbeck. So, Todd, too little too late?

TODD HORNBECK: Well, I think we're way behind the curve. We have a big risk of losing a lot of strategic assets to other countries right now. We've got literally thousands of people sitting on the sidelines and billions of dollars it worth of equipment. It has been 11 months since we've had drilling permits issued in what is really coming out as a trickle and really not telling the correct story. This is big risk.

CAVUTO: I'm sorry to interrupt. This is a $2 billion permit we essentially granted Brazil. In fact, we'll help them do it. So what do you make of that, and competitively, what does it do?

HORNBECK: Well, I think it is ridiculous that Petrobras is publicly- traded company. Why isn't he giving money to Chevron and Shell and Exxon and companies here in the United States and putting our people to work in our country. Why are we worried about putting everyone else to work? We have the natural resources. We need to protect ourselves. The world is a very unstable place. You see it in the Middle East.

Just 10 years ago, most of our oil came from Venezuela and Chavez and look what happened there. So we need to protect ourselves and develop our own resources. President Obama by giving money to Brazil, just validated that we need oil and we need it and it is the best alternative that we have and by validating that position, we need to develop our own resources.

CAVUTO: Well, he validated it there, but I'm wondering, and I know you don't get into the political intrigue here, but it is interesting that Petrobras, one of major investors being one George Soros. Do you think that had anything to do with this White House move? [Fox Business, Cavuto, 3/22/11, via Nexis]

In Fact, Bush Appointees To Ex-Im Bank Unanimously Approved Petrobras Loan

FactCheck.org: Claim That Obama Ordered Loan Is "Bogus." In September 2009, FactCheck.org called the claim that President Obama loaned $2 billion to Petrobras to benefit George Soros "bogus," noting that "none of President Obama's appointees had joined the Ex-Im board at the time of the vote, which was unanimous, and bipartisan." FactCheck.org also quoted the Export-Import Bank saying: "In fact, at the time the Bank's Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush." [FactCheck.org, 9/18/09]

Forbes Contributor: "The President Of The United States Does Not Decide Who Gets Export Import Bank Loans." In a blog post on Forbes reporting on the renewed controversy regarding the Export-Import Bank loan to Petrobras, former Dow Jones reporter Kenneth Rapoza wrote:

When Obama went to Brazil the weekend of March 19-20, the "Obama loan" resurfaced in the online news narrative. Soros profited! It was borderline insider trading! Why are we funding offshore drillers in Brazil, but not in the US? It makes no sense.

With a nod to Jerry Seinfeld..."ladies and gentlemen, I implore you."

Obama had nothing to do with the loan, or non-loan, because no money has changed hands. The President of the United States does not decide who gets Export Import Bank loans. The president's role is to appoint board members who are confirmed by the Senate. The board members decide. [Forbes, 3/21/11]

Ex-Im Bank Loan to Petrobras Promotes Exports Of American Goods And Services

Ex-Im Bank: Loan Can Only Be Used To Purchase American Goods And Services. Responding to an outpouring of falsehoods about the $2 billion loan to Petrobras, the U.S. Export-Import Bank stated that:

Only American made goods and services qualify for Ex-Im Bank loans or guarantees.

Ex-Im only supports U.S. jobs by providing financing to ensure that American goods and services can compete on a level playing field against foreign competition. [U.S. Export-Import Bank, accessed 3/24/11]

Ex-Im Bank: "U.S. Exporters To Benefit From" Loan To Petrobras. From a May 7, 2009, press release by the Export-Import Bank titled "U.S. Exporters to Benefit from a $2 Billion Ex-Im Bank Preliminary Committment to Brazil's Petrobras":

Small and large U.S. companies may benefit from a nonbinding preliminary commitment of $2 billion in financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) to encourage purchases of U.S. goods and services by Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), Brazil's national oil company. Pending a final approval, the financing is anticipated to support more than $2.2 billion of U.S. exports to Petrobras.

[...]

Petrobras may use U.S. goods and services financed under an Ex-Im Bank final commitment to develop its offshore oil and gas reserves, particularly the large pre-salt reserves in the Santos Basin, and also to develop and upgrade its refining and distribution infrastructure. Petrobras anticipates that it will invest $174 billion in development over the next five years.

"Petrobras presents an enormous opportunity for U.S. exporters in the oil and gas industries and many other sectors. With this preliminary commitment, Ex-Im Bank is actively encouraging Petrobras to consider extensive sourcing of equipment, services and supplies from the United States for its offshore development and infrastructure expansion," said Ex-Im Bank Structured Finance Vice President Barbara O'Boyle. [U.S. Export-Import Bank, 5/7/09]

Ex-Im Bank: Loan To Petrobras Made To "Encourage Purchases Of U.S. Goods And Services." From a July 29, 2009, press release from the Export-Import Bank announcing a trade mission to Brazil:

Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg and senior Ex-Im Bank officials are conducting a business-development mission in Brazil from July 29-31, 2009, to promote President Obama's trade policy and the availability of financing from Ex-Im Bank to support Brazil's purchases of U.S. goods and services.

The business-development mission is Hochberg's first international trip since his appointment to the office by President Barack Obama. Hochberg and other senior Ex-Im Bank staff are meeting with officials of the Brazilian government, bankers and business leaders in key industries, including oil and gas, mining, agribusiness and renewable energy.

[...]

"I chose Brazil as my first international destination for good reason: Brazil is a powerhouse among South American economies and offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters in many sectors. I want Brazilians to know that Ex-Im Bank has the will and the capacity to finance their purchases of U.S. equipment, products and services," said Chairman Hochberg.

[...]

In April, Ex-Im Bank approved a $2 billion preliminary commitment to encourage purchases of U.S. goods and services by Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), Brazil's national oil company. The amount of a final commitment may be increased above the $2 billion preliminary amount. Petrobras anticipates that it will invest $174 billion in development over the next five years.

A preliminary commitment is issued by Ex-Im Bank to demonstrate that the Bank is interested in providing financing for the types of transactions indicated. Final approval follows receipt of a final commitment application, review by Ex-Im Bank staff and final action by the Bank's board of directors. [U.S. Export-Import Bank, 7/29/09]

Beck Brought Obama-Soros-Petrobras Conspiracy Theory To Fox In June 2010

Beck: The Obama Administration Loaned Money To Brazil In A Plot To Enrich George Soros. In June 2010, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that the Obama administration was lending $2 billion to Brazil to benefit foreign oil interests at the expense of the U.S. economy in order to enrich George Soros:

BECK: I'm not sure if [Soros] knew that the administration would be making a $2 billion preliminary commitment for Petrobras, for Petrobras, for exploration, just days after he strengthened his investment. Isn't that weird? You see, he's got some connections here, but I'm sure he had no idea what was coming on the other side of the circle? No. It's probably just another one of those bad luck situations for Obama, because this doesn't seem to pass the smell test at all. No. Billionaire investor dumps money into a state-controlled Brazilian oil company; days later the American administration dumps $2 billion into the exact same company. What are the odds, Gilligan?

Let's go here. George Soros starts the Center for American Process with John Podesta. John Podesta, Center for American Progress, selects the Obama transition team. Soros buys $900 million in gasoline powered bras. Then, in a completely unrelated story, BP has their oil spill. But wait a minute, who's this guy? John Podesta. John Podesta is the guy who does all the lobbying for BP? Certainly -- I'm sorry, Tony Podesta -- certainly no relation to John Podesta, other than they're brothers. We'll have to come back to that one later in the show. So then Center for American Progress starts to make Obama policy. This one, we'll show you, laid out by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. One of the policies: cap and trade, which goes right to Crime Inc. and all of the Obama friends with the Climate Exchange in Chicago. That's weird.

Then Obama suspends the deepwater drilling at 1,500 meters. He says "Hey, hey, that's dangerous! Fifteen hundred meters, that's crazy." Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras. Last stop, Petrobras shareholders get rich. Oh my gosh, we're back at the beginning: shareholder, Petrobras. Getting rich. You getting screwed. You see how this works? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/21/10]

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