Posts Tagged ‘Joesley Batista’

Brazil Police Raid Agricultural Minister’s Home

September 14, 2017

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s federal police conducted a raid and search operation at the house of Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi in Brasilia, related to an ongoing bribery and graft scandal, TV Globo reported on Thursday.

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It said the raid is linked to a plea deal by former Mato Grosso state governor Silval Barbosa, who accuses Maggi of participating in a corruption scheme that lasted between 2007 and 2010. Maggi is also a former governor of Mato Grosso – a major producer of soybeans, grains and cattle.

Efforts to contact Maggi’s press representatives in Brasilia were unsuccessful.

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by W Simon)

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Brazil’s top court to consider Temer prosecutor’s recusal

September 13, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP/File | Lawyers for Brazil’s President Michel Temer, who could face new criminal charges, say the country’s chief prosecutor is mounting an “obsessive persecution”

BRASÍLIA (AFP) – Brazil’s Supreme Court was scheduled Wednesday to start considering a demand by President Michel Temer for the recusal of the chief prosecutor leading a corruption case against him.

Temer’s lawyers argue that the prosecutor general, Rodrigo Janot, is mounting an “obsessive persecution” and that he is “greatly exceeding the constitutional and legal limits.”

This comes as Janot is expected to file criminal charges against Temer before he leaves his post and hands over to a new chief prosecutor on Monday. Janot is expected to charge Temer with obstruction of justice.

Congress has to approve any trial of the president and in August voted overwhelmingly to toss out a first charge, which accused Temer of taking bribes. Temer is believed to retain sufficient support to ride out a second charge.

The obstruction of justice charge would depend in part on a secret recording made by meatpacking billionaire Joesley Batista in which Temer allegedly is heard calling for payments to a jailed politician to prevent him testifying.

Batista and his brother Wesley signed plea deals with prosecutors after admitting they had run a huge bribery network to benefit their company JBS.

However the leniency accord has been torn up after Joesley Batista was accused of withholding information from prosecutors.

In another motion, Temer’s lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to block any new criminal charges by Janot until clarification of what they say are irregularities in the way the Batista plea bargain evidence was collected.

The court was due to meet at about 1700 GMT but it was not clear whether the Janot-related items would be considered quickly, with delays potentially pushing the matter to another day.

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Brazil police raid billionaire Joesley Batista’s home, sources say

September 11, 2017

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Brazil’s billionaire businessman Joesley Batista leaves the Federal Police headquarters after losing immunity from prosecution amid a corruption scandal, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto Reuters

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian federal police raided the home of billionaire Joesley Batista, who surrendered to authorities the previous day after losing immunity from prosecution amid a corruption scandal, two people familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Federal Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin gave the nod to the raids, which included the São Paulo headquarters of J&F Investimentos SA, the police said in a statement. J&F is the company through which Batista and his older brother Wesley control JBS SA, the world’s No. 1 meatpacker.

Another raid was conducted at the Rio de Janeiro home of Marcelo Miller, a former federal prosecutor who allegedly helped Batista craft a May plea bargain deal, said the sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The scandal has shocked Brazil’s business and political establishment on top of an ongoing three-year corruption probe. The brothers confessed to bribing scores of politicians in their May plea bargain testimony, allowing them to avoid prosecution.

Among the evidence they provided to prosecutors was a recording of Brazilian President Michel Temer allegedly endorsing hush payments to a possible witness in a graft probe. Temer has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Representatives for J&F and Miller declined to confirm the raids. A lawyer for Batista did not take calls seeking comment.

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Lisandra Paraguassu; Additional reporting by pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by W Simon and JS Benkoe)

JBS Batista Closer to Jail as Supreme Court Orders Arrest

September 10, 2017

Bloomberg News

By Tatiana Freita  and Felipe Marques

  • Supreme Court judge requests jail for meat-packing tycoon
  • Judge argues Batista could conceal evidence if left free
Joesley Batista arrives at the airport after speaking as a witness to Brazilian Attorney General Rodrigo Jano in Brasilia on Sept. 7.

Photographer: Sergio Lima/AFP via Getty Images

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge has ordered the arrest of Joesley Batista, the tycoon who turned JBS SA into a global meat powerhouse, the latest chapter of a scandal that has tipped Brazil back into political chaos and left his family’s business empire reeling.

Judge Edson Fachin ordered Batista’s arrest and the temporary suspension of the immunity granted in a plea-bargain agreement signed by the businessman with Brazilian authorities in May, according to official documents published on the Supreme Court website on Sunday. Ricardo Saud, a top executive at J&F Investimentos SA, the holding company that controls JBS, was also targeted by Fachin’s arrest warrant.

According to the judge, if the two executives were left at liberty “they would find the same incentives directed to concealing part of the probative elements” of their testimony. The J&F press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pierpaolo Cruz Bottini, a lawyer who represents both men, said via text message that he had received information that the arrest warrants had been ordered. The federal police will decide when to carry out the arrests, which could come as early as Sunday.

Audio Recording

The court’s decision follows a request for their arrest by Rodrigo Janot, the country’s chief prosecutor, who said that Batista and Saud left out information from testimony submitted to Brazilian prosecutors earlier this year, when they confessed to graft and other crimes. The omissions came to light on Sept. 5, when a new audio recording emerged of a conversation between the pair. That discussion received blanket coverage in Brazilian media and followed the sensational broadcast in May of Batista’s recorded testimony, which earned him a plea bargain while creating a political crisis.

The latest tape raised questions over the terms of that agreement, which some have criticized for treating too leniently Batista and other executives connected to the case. Some of Batista’s remarks on the new recording, including a comment that he would never go to jail, have further enraged Brazilians.

In order to prevent the agreement from being fully scrapped, J&F and its executives are said to be discussing new terms with prosecutors, including raising the fines that Batista would have to pay, according to report published on Saturday by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-10/jbs-batista-closer-to-jail-as-supreme-court-orders-arrest

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Former JBS Chairman Ready to Surrender to Authorities, Lawyer Says

September 10, 2017

The country’s Supreme Court approved Joesley Batista’s arrest for allegedly reneging on the terms of a plea-bargain agreement

SÃO PAULO—Joesley Batista, the former chairman of meatpacking giant JBS SA, is ready to turn himself over to Brazil’s legal authorities after the country’s Supreme Court approved his arrest for allegedly reneging on the terms of a plea-bargain agreement, Mr. Batista’s lawyer said Sunday.

High court Justice Edson Fachin approved the arrest following a request from Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, according to documents made public on…

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Corruption charges against Brazil’s Temer expected to come in waves: source — Plus related recent articles

June 24, 2017

Reuters

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By Ricardo Brito and Maria Carolina Marcello

Brazil’s top federal prosecutor will level corruption charges against President Michel Temer one at a time instead of making all the accusations at once, a strategy aimed at weakening his defense, a source with direct knowledge of the process told Reuters on Friday.

Under Brazilian law, any criminal charges against a sitting president must be approved by two-thirds of the lower house of Congress in order for the Supreme Court to put a leader on trial.

Top prosecutor Rodrigo Janot is expected to charge Temer with receiving bribes early next week. The president is also facing accusations of racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Temer’s office and his attorney, Antonio Mariz, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Temer has repeatedly said he is innocent of all accusations.

The investigation is hampering the president’s ability to push his economic reforms through Congress.

Key lawmakers in Temer’s alliance told Reuters this week, on condition of anonymity so they could speak freely, that they will set aside work on those proposed labor law reforms if forced to vote on criminal charges against Temer.

They also said they will not even consider advancing work on pension reforms until changes to the labor law are passed.

Temer is being investigated in connection with a political graft scheme involving JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker. Company executives said in plea-bargain testimony that the president took nearly $5 million in bribes in return for help resolving tax matters, for freeing up loans from state-run banks and other matters.

Joesley Batista, one of the brothers who control JBS, also made a recording of a conversation he had with Temer earlier this year. In it the president appears to condone paying off a potential witness. Batista also accused Temer and aides of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations for his Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

Lawyers defending Temer were trying to dismiss the use of the recording in the investigation, saying it was manipulated. But police said on Friday after finishing an analysis of the audio files and the equipment used by Joesley Batista to record the president that they were valid.

Lawmakers in Temer’s alliance say they have the one-third of lower-house votes required to block any charges against Temer. Out of 513 deputies, leaders in the alliance said this week they have between 250 and 300 votes.

But they also told Reuters they widely expected Janot to use the strategy of dragging out the charges against Temer in an effort to wear down lawmakers with multiple votes.

Those ballots will be deeply unpopular with Brazilian voters who overwhelmingly believe Temer is corrupt, according to opinion polls.

It also gives more time for possible new corruption revelations to surface against Temer, said another key lawmaker speaking on condition of anonymity, potentially eroding his support in the house.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Maria Carolina Marcello; Additional reporting by Brad Brooks; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)

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Embattled Brazil President Denies Corruption Accusation

June 18, 2017

Former JBS meatpacking executive says Temer led criminal organization of politicians

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June 17, 2017 5:31 p.m. ET

RIO DE JANEIRO—Brazilian President Michel Temer on Saturday vowed to sue the billionaire ex-chairman of meatpacking giant JBS SA, after being accused by him of running “the biggest and most dangerous criminal organization of this country.”

In an interview published Saturday by Brazilian newsmagazine Época, former JBS Chairman Joesley Batista said Mr. Temer was the ringleader of a group of politicians in the lower house of Congress who routinely hit him up for cash in recent years. Mr. Batista stepped down last month after…

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Brazil’s Leader, Billionaire Accuse Each Other of Corruption

June 17, 2017 6:59 PM
  • Associated Press
Brazil's President Michel Temer smiles as he receives military honors during a ceremony, in Brasilia, June 9, 2017.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer smiles as he receives military honors during a ceremony, in Brasilia, June 9, 2017.

Embattled President Michel Temer exchanged furious denunciations of corruption Saturday with a leading businessman who alleges Brazil’s leader was behind the bribes paid by business executives to politicians and government authorities in exchange for political favors.Meatpacking billionaire Joesley Batista, who is himself under investigation for fraud, claimed in an interview published in the news magazine Epoca that “Temer leads Brazil’s largest and most dangerous criminal organization.” He provided no specifics to back up his charge.

Temer’s office fired back with a statement describing Batista as “the most notorious and successful bandit in Brazil’s history,” and it promised to file criminal and civil lawsuits against him.

Batista is now a key witness in corruption investigations that threaten to force Temer out of office before his term ends in December 2018. Prosecutors have said they are considering charging the president with receiving bribes and with trying to obstruct the investigation into a colossal corruption scheme at the state-run oil company that involved huge kickbacks to politicians in return for inflated contracts. Dozens of politicians and business executives already have been convicted in the Petrobras case.

Kickbacks reported

A key part of the evidence against Temer comes from plea bargain agreements with prosecutors signed by Batista and his brother Wesley that allow the two men to remain free. Under investigation in a pension fund fraud, they have said they paid kickbacks to more than 1,800 politicians to win favors for their JBS meatpacking company.

JBS is the world’s biggest meat processing company and operates more than 100 industrial units around the world.

Their revelations include a recording of a March meeting between Batista and Temer in which the president appears to condone the payment of hush money to imprisoned former Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha, who is serving a 15-year corruption sentence.

Prosecutors have said that in the recording Temer is heard authorizing Batista to pay Cunha the equivalent of about $150,000 a week for not reaching a plea bargain deal.

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Brazil’s Temer Led Graft Scheme, Billionaire Tells Época Magazine — Criminal organization in the lower house — Época magazine bombshell

June 17, 2017

SAO PAULO — Brazilian President Michel Temer led a corruption scheme in which lawmakers squeezed high-profile executives for bribes, billionaire Joesley Batista told magazine Época in an interview published on Saturday.

In his first interview since striking a leniency agreement with Brazilian prosecutors, Batista told Época that Temer asked for money several times since 2010. Batista told the magazine that Temer led a group of senior politicians regularly demanding kickbacks in exchange for political favors.

Former speakers Eduardo Cunha and Henrique Eduardo Alves, as well as Temer’s current chief of staff Eliseu Padilha and Cabinet Minister Wellington Moreira Franco, participated in Temer’s scheme, Batista said in the interview.

Reuters

Brazilian President Michel Temer attends a ceremony of the 152nd anniversary of the Riachuelo Naval Battle at the Marine Corps Headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino – RTS16FMH REUTERS

“Temer is the leader of a lower house criminal organization,” Época quoted Batista as saying. “Those who are not under arrest are in the government. They’re very dangerous.”

Temer’s media office declined to comment. Press representatives for Batista and his family’s investment holding company, J&F Investimentos SA, were not immediately available for comment.

Efforts to reach the lawyers of Cunha, Alves, Moreira Franco and Padilha were unsuccessful.

The comments took Batista’s accusations against Temer a bit further since the billionaire entrepreneur told prosecutors that Temer worked to obstruct an ongoing corruption investigation as president.

Rousseff was impeached last year on accusation she oversaw the doctoring of budget accounts.

J&F agreed to pay a record-setting 10.3 billion-real ($3.1 billion) leniency fine, after Joesley Batista and his brother Wesley admitted to bribing almost 1,900 politicians in recent years. J&F-controlled JBS SA, the world’s No. 1 meatpacker, is being investigated for alleged insider trading ahead of the announcement of the Batista family’s leniency deal.

Batista denied having ordered insider trades at JBS, according to the Época interview, adding that he believed they were all made in line with the law.

He said J&F will sell “as many assets as necessary” to quash concerns about the group’s solvency. J&F diversified from meatpacking in recent years, expanding into fashion, home cleaning, banking and pulpmaking with the help of state loans, prosecutors said.

(Writing by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Leslie Adler)

Brazil Corruption Scandal Nears Temer, Roiling Markets and Prompting Impeachment Talks

May 18, 2017

Stock index down more than 10%; an opposition party calls for president’s resignation or impeachment

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President Michel Temer

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May 18, 2017 1:40 p.m. ET

BRASÍLIA—An unfolding corruption scandal moved closer to President Michel Temer and a leading ally, sending financial markets plunging, prompting calls for Mr. Temer’s impeachment and potentially stalling an economic overhaul in Latin America’s biggest country.

The Ibovespa stock index was down 8% midday Thursday after declining as much as 10% earlier in the day, and the Brazilian real weakened to 3.32 against the dollar from 3.10…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brazils-temer-scandal-roils-markets-prompts-impeachment-talk-1495129224

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Brazil President Rejects Calls to Quit Amid New Corruption Claims

Calls for Mr. Temer to step down multiplied on Thursday across Brazil’s political establishment, following a report by Globo, the country’s most powerful media group, of a secret recording in which the president had endorsed bribes paid to silence Eduardo Cunha, an imprisoned politician who was an orchestrator of Ms. Rousseff’s ouster.

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/world/americas/brazil-president-michel-temer-corruption-claims.html?_r=0

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Brazil Crisis Deepens With Probe of President, Top Senator — Brazil shares fall 10% on Temer bribery claims — Obstruction of justice — Talk of impeachment

May 18, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian federal police are searching the office and homes of a top senator and presidential contender.

Thursday’s searches of Sen. Aecio Neves’ home in Rio de Janeiro and his Brasilia office are fallout from a widespread corruption investigation that has also reached President Michel Temer.

Neves nearly won the presidency in 2014 and had planned to run in 2018. He is being investigated in several corruption cases related to the “Car Wash” probe into kickbacks to politicians. He has denied wrongdoing.

Late Wednesday, Globo newspaper reported that Neves was recorded asking JBS meat-packing company executive Joesley Batista for $700,000 to pay for his “Car Wash” defense.

Globo also reported that Temer was recorded by Batista endorsing the bribing of a former lawmaker to keep him quiet. Temer denies the allegation.

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From FT (Financial Times)

By Andres Schipani in São Paulo and Joe Leahy in New York

Brazil’s markets crashed on their opening on Thursday, with the benchmark Ibovespa stock index down 10.47 per cent after one of the country’s leading newspapers alleged President Michel Temer had been taped endorsing bribe payments.

The real weakened 7.69 per cent against the dollar after the reports, which threaten to topple a government that had won market support with a set of crucial reforms to overhaul Brazil`s sinking public finances and rein in its over-generous pension system.

Brazil`s Treasury said it stood ready to ensure there was “adequate liquidity” in the markets and their “smooth functioning”. “We are now in the middle of the hurricane, there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Zeina Latif, chief economist at the São Paulo-based XP Investments.

The scandal threatens to plunge Mr Temer and his government, which was brought to power only last August with the removal by Congress of his leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff, into another impeachment process.

O Globo reported that Joesley and Wesley Batista, respectively chairman and chief executive of Brazil’s largest meatpacker JBS, had presented a secret recording of Mr Temer approving bribes to Eduardo Cunha, the disgraced former speaker of the lower house, as part of plea bargain negotiations.

The report comes as the country’s political and corporate establishment is reeling from sprawling corruption investigations into state oil company Petrobras in a scandal known as Operação Lava Jato, or Operation Car Wash, which has implicated senior politicians, police, union bosses and indigenous leaders in a vast web of bribery.  According to the O Globo report, Mr Temer heard from Joesley Batista that JBS was paying Cunha to keep silent.

The president is alleged to have responded: “You’ve got to keep this up, OK?”  The report did not specify what Mr Cunha — who was crucial in the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff that brought Mr Temer to power last year — was alleged to have been asked to keep silent about.  The president’s office said in a statement that Mr Temer had “never asked for payments to obtain the silence of the former deputy Eduardo Cunha”.

Confirming the meeting with Joesley Batista at Mr Temer’s official residence, it added that “there was nothing in the dialogue that compromises the conduct of the president”. JBS declined to comment. Cunha, who is in jail, could not be reached for comment. FT Special Report Reinventing Brazil Brazil appears to be on the move again. After a rocky 2016, there are signs that the deep recession could be coming to an end.

Despite protests, the government is trying to cut back on spending and introduce changes that will ensure a more sustainable future.

The unverified report is already rattling the unpopular government. Protesters gathered on Wednesday night outside Brasilía’s modernist presidential palace and in São Paulo’s main thoroughfare honking horns and shouting “Temer, out!”

“If true, this is a bomb,” said Thomaz Favaro, political analyst at Control Risks, adding that if the recordings were confirmed, Mr Temer faced an investigation, public pressure to resign and impeachment proceedings in Congress.  “The development substantially increases the risk of an unscheduled government change before the 2018 election,” he said.

If Mr Temer left power, the next in line would be Rodrigo Maia, head of the lower house of Congress who is also implicated in the probes. Plea bargains in Brazil allow suspects to receive lighter sentences in exchange for giving evidence, which in the case of Operation Car Wash has led to investigation threads that have reached ever higher echelons of power.

The latest batch of plea bargains prompted the Supreme Court to open probes in April into many politicians, including eight government ministers. Mr Temer, already suffering from an approval rating of just 9 per cent, is battling to introduce an ambitious reform agenda including deeply unpopular changes to the pension system. Not only could the latest revelations trample on his plan — they could conceivably topple him.

Alessandro Molon, an opposition lawmaker, said he had filed an impeachment request against Mr Temer. Janaína Paschoal, a jurist and co-author of the impeachment request against Ms Rousseff, said on Wednesday night that if the recordings were confirmed, Mr Temer could not remain in office.

Columnist Igor Gielow wrote in Folha de São Paulo newspaper that while a mixture of luck and skill had allowed Mr Temer to get through the car wash investigations so far, “now he can at the very least be accused of a crime . . . obstruction of justice”.

https://www.ft.com/content/e38a68f8-3b7a-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23