In this file:
· Batista Brothers' Latest Deal Drags Brazil Into Fresh Crisis
Wesley and Joesley Batista said have agreed to a plea bargain
JBS owners wield financial, political influence in country
· Brazil meatpacker JBS says executives to pay 225 million-real fine
· JBS chairman confirms signing plea agreements with Brazil prosecutors
· Something’s Rotten in the State of Brazil
… Businesses are expected to pay bribes to politicians to gain access and influence. That corruption is both a consequence and a cause of the lingering inequality in the region. JBS, a large meat-packing company in Brazil, is the latest company confirmed to have paid these bribes…
· JBS, the Brazilian meatpackers profiting from Operation Car Wash
· Brazil's Batista Clan: a Short Guide to an Empire Built on Beef
· Riots erupt in Brazil over claims secret tapes reveal President 'colluding with firm that sold diseased meat'
… Ricardo Rocha Lourdes, the congressman, was later filmed receiving a suitcase filled with banknotes worth £122,000, sent by Joesley Batista, who owns JBS with his brother Wesley. In another video, Temer is allegedly filmed telling Batista to continue paying a monthly bribe to Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress and lobbyist Lucio Funaro. Cunha is serving a 15-year jail sentence on corruption charges and Lucio is also serving a prison sentence. They were allegedly told to pay the pair money so they keep silent while in jail. After Batista tells the president that he is paying the monthly hush money, Temer is reportedly heard saying in one of the recordings: "you have to keep doing this, ok?"…
Batista Brothers' Latest Deal Drags Brazil Into Fresh Crisis
Wesley and Joesley Batista said have agreed to a plea bargain
JBS owners wield financial, political influence in country
by Gerson Freitas Jr, Bloomberg
May 18, 2017
By taking their father’s slaughterhouse in the Brazilian countryside and building the world’s largest meat producer, Wesley and Joesley Batista earned reputations as consummate dealmakers. Their latest bargain, which may be their boldest yet, has dragged the country and its president into a crisis.
The brothers, who control and run meat giant JBS SA, are among seven company executives who signed a plea bargain agreement with Brazilian authorities in exchange for reduced sentences, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified. The accord related to investigations into transactions between JBS, the Batistas’ holding company, and state-run banks and pensions funds, the person said.
As part of that agreement, the brothers submitted to the Supreme Court a recording that shows President Michel Temer approving a payment to Eduardo Cunha, the mastermind behind last year’s impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff, according to O Globo newspaper. In return, the Batistas agreed to pay 225 million reais ($67 million) in fines, and will face no trial, O Globo reported.
The real and Brazilian stock prices plunged early Thursday as Temer denied wrongdoing. JBS fell as much as 20 percent in Sao Paulo. The company and its parent, J&F Investimentos SA, declined to comment on the plea bargain.
If nothing else, the revelations illustrate how deeply embedded the Batistas are in both the country’s business and political life. JBS and other companies under the J&F umbrella have financed almost a third of representatives in Brazil’s chamber of representatives. They doled out a record 387 million reais in donations in the 2014 elections, according to Brazil’s electoral tribunal. JBS was the biggest campaign donor that year for the re-election of Dilma Rousseff, as well as for the loser in the presidential race, Aecio Neves.
More recently, JBS has struggled amid several investigations. They include a probe known in Brazil as Weak Flesh, which concerns allegations that meat producers including JBS were accused this year by the police of paying bribes to federal inspectors to clear the sale of tainted meat. JBS has denied any wrongdoing.
JBS shares touched 7.63 reais in Sao Paulo trading, the lowest intraday price since July 2014. The company’s $750 million in notes due in 2024 lost 2.3 percent to 100.31 cents, the biggest decline since October.
Click here to follow the live blog of Brazil crisis.
Separately, transactions between JBS and state-bank BNDES have been investigated by Brazil’s federal audit court for more than a year. Prosecutors are looking for evidence of fraud and irregularities, such as overpricing and noncompliance, according to a court filing. The transactions in question led to about 1.2 billion reais of losses at the bank, the police said last week.
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Brazil meatpacker JBS says executives to pay 225 million-real fine
Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Christian Plumb and Sandra Maler | Reuters
Thu May 18, 2017 | 7:47pm EDT
Brazil's JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), the world's largest meatpacker, said on Thursday that seven of its executives and its parent company J&F Investimentos had signed plea agreements with prosecutors regarding the country's widest-ever corruption probe.
In a securities filing on Thursday, JBS said the executives will pay a 225 million reais ($67 million) fine.
JBS chairman confirms signing plea agreements with Brazil prosecutors
via Daily Mail (UK) - 18 May 2017
SAO PAULO, May 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA's Chairman Joesley Batista confirmed on Thursday the signing of plea agreements with prosecutors regarding the country's widest-ever corruption probe.
In a statement, Batista, who is one of the controlling shareholders of JBS through his family's holding company J&F Investimentos, admitted to making improper payments to politicians. He added that outside Brazil, the group has expanded its activities "without violating ethical norms". (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Christian Plumb and Sandra Maler)
Something’s Rotten in the State of Brazil
By Joseph Gaudi Harley, EconomicsWire
May 18th, 2017
Brazilian markets are reeling today after corruption investigations now look set to engulf the current President Michel Temer. The Bovespa index of Brazilian stocks is down about 9%, while the real is 7% lower versus the U.S. dollar, meaning a basket of Brazilian stocks is about 16% lower in U.S. dollars. The shock hits Brazil just as its markets seemed to be recovering this year from widespread corruption and large public deficits.
Corruption in Brazil, and across South America, is often seen in a “pay to play” system. Businesses are expected to pay bribes to politicians to gain access and influence. That corruption is both a consequence and a cause of the lingering inequality in the region. JBS, a large meat-packing company in Brazil, is the latest company confirmed to have paid these bribes.
JBS is no small concern. Based in Sao Paolo, the company does some $50 billion in annual sales. Through acquisitions it has also become a major player in the United States’ beef and poultry markets and is the world’s largest producer of beef products. For many years, JBS was a family company, but it went public in 2007, although the Batista family that started it continued to maintain control through their family’s investment firm.
JBS has been caught up in an on-going corruption probe of the Brazilian meat-packing industry in which prosecutors allege meat inspectors were bribed to ignore health and safety violations, some of them quite serious. In March, the headquarters of JBS was raided by investigators. As part of a plea agreement, JBS turned over substantial evidence to prosecutors including numerous taped conversations, which only made the story even more interesting. Those tapes potentially incriminate the current President, as well as a past Presidential candidate and past Finance Minister.
President Temer is alleged to have spoken with Joesley Batista, one of the leaders of JBS, about paying bribes to Eduardo Cunha, a former speaker of the House who has been disgraced in a separate corruption investigation. The money apparently paid to Cunha was hush money to prevent his revealing of other incriminating information. Brazilian newspaper O Globo also reported that the tapes indicate aides close to Temer accepted bribes from JBS in the past for assistance in tapping export markets. Temer denies the claims.
Brazil’s current President is only in office because his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office on August 31, 2016...
JBS, the Brazilian meatpackers profiting from Operation Car Wash
JBS finds itself in the spotlight for the second time this year
May 18, 2017
Dirty meat put JBS on the front page in March 2017. Now, dirty money has put the Brazilian meatpackers back in the spotlight. Thanks to the company’s owners, Brazil’s president Michel Temer could now face impeachment.
Joesley and Wesley Batista, the siblings in charge of JBS, met with Temer, Eduardo Cunha and Aécio Neves back in March. The conversation, recorded as part of ongoing corruption investigations, shows Temer asking JBS to bribe Cunha. It also reveals Neves, Minas Gerais state senator and 2018 presidential hopeful, negotiating a R$2 million bribe.
Last night, Brazilian news site O Globo leaked news of the plea deal. JBS triggered a police operation into Neves and fellow congressmen as well as placed President Temer under formal investigation.
What exactly is the story behind the company that sparked Brazil’s current political turmoil? Here goes.
Where did JBS come from?
JBS had humble beginnings. In 1991, Joesley and Wesley employed 60 people in their operations. Today, their company is one of the biggest private companies in Brazil, valued higher than mining giants Vale at 116 billion BRL.
In 2006, despite being one of the largest slaughterhouses in Brazil, JBS wasn’t even one of the country’s 100 biggest companies. But they received serious investments when BNDES, the National Bank for Economic and Social Development, became a primary shareholder.
Between 2007 and 2009, BNDES bought 8.3 billion BRL’s worth of shares in JBS, plus a further 2 billion BRL in loans. No other private company had ever received a sum near this value. JBS began to spark international interest, acquiring Smithfield Beef Group and Pilgrim’s Pride, catching the eye of JP Morgan and other investors.
The brothers expanded internationally after this. As business accelerated in 2012, the brothers opened J&F Investimentos, producing goods from paper and soap to biodiesel. They have 210,000 employees, spread across Brazil and its host countries – Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Mexico, Canada, the United States and Australia. Today, BNDES owns 24.59% of the company.
How is JBS involved in Operation Car Wash? ...
Brazil's Batista Clan: a Short Guide to an Empire Built on Beef
JBS’s founders are known for both big business and scandals
The family’s companies have been named in at least six probes
by Jessica Brice and Tatiana Freitas, Bloomberg
May 18, 2017
While Brazil’s enormous Carwash corruption scandal has gained international attention over the past few years, plenty of other graft investigations have been under way in the shadows. Six probes involve companies controlled by the Batista family, which built an empire out of beef, pulp and banking. Here’s a quick summary of the family, and their businesses, which are now at the center of the latest political crisis to engulf the country.
· José Batista Sobrinho. Zé Mineiro, as the family patriarch is also known, founded the the company that became known as JBS (the name takes his initials). Working as a butcher, he settled in Brasilia in 1957, just as President Juscelino Kubitschek implemented his “fifty years in five” plan to fast-track building of the nation’s new capital. Batista helped supply meat for the construction workers and later acquired his first meatpacking plant, the first in a series of acquisitions that transformed his business into the world’s largest meatpacker over the next several decades. Now 84, Sobrinho is still involved in the family business. Batista has three sons and three daughters. Five of the children each have an equal interest in J&F Investimentos, the family holding company.
· José Batista Junior. The oldest of the three brothers began working with his father when he was 15 years old and took over the running of the JBS slaughterhouse -- the family’s main business -- in 1980, when he was just 20. He led the company until 2007, when JBS sold shares in a public offering. At that time, Jose Jr. became a member of the board, a position he held until 2013. That same year, he sold all his shares in J&F to his brothers and left the family business to focus on politics. He ran an unsuccessful bid for governor in his home state of Goias and was later kicked out of the PMDB party because of political disagreements.
· Wesley Batista: The second-oldest son also began working with his father at 15, when he took over the operations of a slaughterhouse in Goias state. He became global CEO of JBS in 2011. Before that, he served at the helm of the meatpacker’s U.S. business, leading turnarounds at Swift and Pilgrim’s Pride after they were acquired by JBS. Wesley, now 47, is seen as a details guy who is quieter than his brothers and takes a greater interest in the company’s finances. Last year, he was forced to briefly step down as CEO of JBS following a court order connected to a probe into pension-fund fraud.
· Joesley Batista: The youngest brother was JBS’s CEO between 2007 and 2011, overseeing a period that marked the company’s fastest-ever expansion and its transformation into the world’s largest meatpacker. While Wesley is considered a numbers man, Joesley is seen as the relationship guy. He’s made regular appearances in Brazil’s social columns, partly thanks to a lavish wedding to a Brazilian television journalist. In business, Joesley has tapped his social skills to make acquisitions of companies including Swift and Pilgrim’s Pride. Joesley, 45, is JBS’s chairman. Last year he was ordered by a federal court judge to step down as chairman of J&F amid an investigation into investments made by Brazilian pension funds. In March, he recorded a conversation with Brazil’s President Michel Temer approving a bribe, a local newspaper reported Wednesday, triggering a new political crisis in the country.
· Valeria, Vanessa and Viviane Batista: The three sisters, all of whom are J&F shareholders, have largely stayed out of the spotlight and don’t hold any executive roles in the family businesses.
· J&F Investimentos. The family’s holding company is Brazil’s largest private conglomerate, according to its website, controlling companies with a combined revenue of 174 billion reais ($52 billion) in 2015. Under its umbrella are a range of businesses:
· JBS. The meatpacker made news in 2015 when it bet big on Brazil’s currency collapse and made more from the hedging operation than all of its beef, poultry and pork operations combined.
· Eldorado Brasil Celulose. The pulp producer is being investigated by federal police in a fraud case involving pension funds.
· Banco Original. J&F’s bank was founded in 2008 with a mission to finance agribusiness. It had 8.7 billion reais in assets under management at the end of 2016. The lender is being investigated for alleged irregular transactions with Banco Rural.
· Flora. Founded in 1980, the company that takes its name from Jose Batista Sobrinho’s wife is currently a market leader in the production and sale of cleaning products and cosmetics in Brazil, according to the company’s website. It owns 17 brands.
· Vigor. One of the country’s major dairy companies, Vigor owns 14 factories in Brazil.
· Alpargatas. The maker of Havaianas flip-flops is Latin America’s largest shoe producer, according to the company’s website. J&F’s acquisition of the shoemaker in 2015 was financed by a loan that’s being investigated by Brazil’s audit court.
· Canal Rural: The Brazilian television channel focuses on the business of agriculture. J&F bought this unit in 2013 from a regional group in Brazil.
The Allegations ...
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Riots erupt in Brazil over claims secret tapes reveal President 'colluding with firm that sold diseased meat'
President Michel Temer was allegedly filmed speaking with the owners of Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS, which was at the centre of allegations over the export of rotten meat early this year
By Matt Roper& Rachel Bishop, Mirror (UK)
18 MAY 2017
Brazil's president Michel Temer was allegedly secretly recorded discussing 'hush money' pay-offs to a jailed associate and colluding with a firm that sold rotten and diseased meat in Europe.
Alleged explosive recordings were presented to prosecutors as part of a plea bargain by Joesley and Wesley Batista, who run the country's shamed meat-packing firm JBS.
The company was accused in March of paying inspectors to overlook exports of meat which were rotten, had traces of salmonella or were even filled with products such as cardboard.
The release of the recording has sparked furious protests across the country, and outraged members of Brazil’s congress have called for Temer to step down.
President Temer, who took office in August last year after the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff, is accused of helping cover up JBS's crimes at the time of the scandal by assigning a trusted congressman to smooth over matters relating to the JBS allegations.
Ricardo Rocha Lourdes, the congressman, was later filmed receiving a suitcase filled with banknotes worth £122,000, sent by Joesley Batista, who owns JBS with his brother Wesley.
In another video, Temer is allegedly filmed telling Batista to continue paying a monthly bribe to Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress and lobbyist Lucio Funaro. Cunha is serving a 15-year jail sentence on corruption charges and Lucio is also serving a prison sentence. They were allegedly told to pay the pair money so they keep silent while in jail.
After Batista tells the president that he is paying the monthly hush money, Temer is reportedly heard saying in one of the recordings: "you have to keep doing this, ok?".
And in another secret recording, Brazilian senator Aecio Neves, the leader of president Temer's PSDB party, is apparently seen asking the meat firm owner for £500,000.
Brazil's Federal Police reportedly filmed the money being handed over to Neves' cousin, who deposited it into the bank account of congressman Zeze Perrella, also of the PSDB party.
In explosive revelations in Brazil's O Globo newspaper, the Batista brothers allegedly secretly recorded conversations with Brazil's president in March this year, as the rotten meat scandal broke.
Unknown to to him, the Batista brothers were already helping Brazil's Federal Police in a plea bargain in exchange for leniency.
Investigators tracked the serial numbers of bank notes and attached chips to bags used to deliver them, tracking more than £737,000 in bribes to jailed Congressman Eduardo Cunha just in April this year - allegedly authorised by President Temer.
After the allegations were made public last night, the Brazilian chamber deputies and congress suspended sessions, with the president of the chamber of deputies, Rodrigo Maia, claiming the scandal "left them unable to do their work".
Brazilians later took to the streets in number of cities, with police using pepper spray against protesters outside parliament buildings in the capital Brasilia.
By 11pm, thousands of people had filled Sao Paulo's main thoroughfare, Avenida Paulista, demanding the impeachment of President Temer…
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