This excerpt taken from the PBR 20-F filed May 22, 2009.
We may incur losses and spend time and money defending pending litigations and arbitrations.
We are currently a party to numerous legal proceedings relating to civil, administrative, environmental, labor and tax claims filed against us. These claims involve substantial amounts of money and other remedies. Several individual disputes account for a significant part of the total amount of claims against us. For example, on the grounds that drilling and production platforms may not be classified as sea-going vessels, the Brazilian Revenue Service asserted that overseas remittances for charter payments should be reclassified as lease payment and subject to a withholding tax of 25%. The Revenue Service has filed two tax assessments against us that in the aggregate, on December 31, 2008, amounted to R$4,372 million (approximately U.S.$1,871 million). See Item 8. Financial InformationLegal Proceedings.
In the event that claims involving a material amount and for which we have no provisions were to be decided against us, or in the event that the losses estimated turn out to be significantly higher than the provisions made, the aggregate cost of unfavorable decisions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our management may be required to direct its time and attention to defending these claims, which could preclude them from focusing on our core business. Depending on the outcome, certain litigation could result in restrictions on our operations and have a material adverse effect on certain of our businesses.