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JBS CEO arrested days after brother detainedJBS CEO arrested days after brother detained

Investigation alleges insider trading prior to signing leniency agreement in May.

Krissa Welshans 1

September 13, 2017

2 Min Read
JBS CEO arrested days after brother detained

In another turn of events surrounding the ongoing scandals concerning JBS S.A., brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista have both now been arrested, according to reports. Wesley Batista, who is still chief executive officer of the world’s largest meat packing company, was taken into custody Wednesday by Brazilian police for alleged insider trading earlier this year. A warrant was also issued for Joesley, who was taken into police custody earlier this week on a different matter.

Brazil's federal police said two separate events were part of the investigation, known as Operation Achilles Tendon, that led to the latest arrests.

The first involved the sale of JBS shares between April 24 and May 17 by its parent company, FB Participações S.A., a subsidiary of J&F Investimentos SA (J&F), which is solely owned by the Batista brothers, and the purchase of these shares in the market by JBS, which the police said manipulated the market, causing company shareholders to absorb losses.

The second part of the investigation involved JBS's purchase of U.S. dollar derivative contracts between April 28 and May 17 prior to the dollar rising. Both events occurred just prior to J&F signing a leniency agreement on May 30, which caused JBS stock to plummet and the Brazilian real to weaken.

Brazilian federal police said they worked with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to carry out the investigation, and the Batista brothers may be held liable for the misuse of privileged information, with penalties of one to five years' imprisonment and a fine of up to three times the value of the gains associated with the insider trading.

Their lawyer, Pierpaolo Cruz Bottini, said in a statement to The Financial Times, “The arrest of the Batista brothers on the insider information inquiry is unjust. It is absurd and regrettable that somebody who has always been at the disposal of justice, provided testimony and presented all the required documents has been detained. The Brazilian state is using all means to promote revenge against those who collaborated with justice.”

Joesley, a former JBS executive who has been at the center of several Brazilian scandals this year, turned himself in Sunday and was taken into custody after the Supreme Court issued a warrant following a request by the country’s chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, who claimed Batista and another executive omitted information from testimony submitted to prosecutors.

The alleged omissions came to light on Sept. 5, when an audio recording emerged of a conversation between the pair and received blanket coverage in the Brazilian media, Bloomberg said.

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