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Petrobras shelves debt sales in wake of scandals, source says

SAO PAULO, April 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which has been hit by a series of scandals, shelved plans to sell debt in local and international debt markets later this year, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Monday.

Petrobras planned to sell as much as 3 billion reais ($1.35 billion) in so-called infrastructure notes by the end of June, the source told Reuters. The company also planned to issue more euro- and British-pound-denominated global bonds during the second half of the year.

Petrobras is concerned that investor perception about the extent of the scandals could reduce demand for its debt or raise the cost of borrowing, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

While Petrobras could change its mind and resume the plans at some point, the fact that the company has already raised the $25 billion it needed to finance part of its operations this year helped in the decision, the source added.

Petrobras officials were not immediately available to comment.

Petrobras has come under fire in Brazil's Congress and in the press over concerns it may have overpaid for an oil refinery in Texas. In addition, a government agency is investigating allegations that company officials took bribes in exchange for steering contracts to SBM Offshore NV, a Dutch oil-production ship leasing company.

A former official has also been arrested in an alleged money-laundering case.

Petrobras preferred shares, the company's most-traded class of stock, rose 5.4 percent to 16.27 reais in Sao Paulo trading Monday afternoon.

($1 =2.22 Brazilian reais)

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra Bernal; additional reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Leslie Adler)