Petrobras temporarily removes compliance head

The logo of Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company is seen on a tank in at Petrobras Paulinia refinery in Paulinia, Brazil July 1, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Petróleo Brasileiro SA, the state-controlled company at the center of Brazil’s worst corruption scandal, temporarily removed Chief Compliance Officer João Elek Jr so he can defend himself against accusations he was involved in a conflict of interest over a contract.

In a Wednesday securities filing, Petrobras said that according to the government’s ethics committee, Elek’s decision to hire an auditing firm in which his daughter worked represented a conflict of interest.

The decision to remove Elek was made to allow him to appeal the committee’s ruling, the filing said.

Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Sandra Maler