In this article, titled “Joesley Batista 101: Overview of the Brazilian Businessman”, we will provide our readers at Zatrun.com with an in-depth look at everything you need to know about the Brazilian businessman, Joesley Batista, who has sparked curiosity amongst our audience.
Who is Joesley Batista?
Joesley Mendonça Batista is a Brazilian businessman born on December 8, 1972, and his father is José Batista Sobrinho. He is responsible for the expansion and internationalization of JBS S.A., the world’s largest meatpacking company, and J&F Investimentos, one of Brazil’s leading agriculture businesses. He shares the company with his wife Flora and their five children. As of October 2021, his net worth is estimated to be $4.1 billion.
José Batista Sobrinho, the founder of JBS S.A. and J&F Investimentos, is Joesley’s father. He is married to Flora Mendonça Batista and their children are Valere Batista Mendonça Ramos, Vanessa Mendonça Batista, Wesley Mendonça Batista, Joesley Mendonça Batista, and Vivianne Mendonça Batista.
Joesley Batista was listed among Brazil’s top 70 billionaires by Forbes magazine in 2016.
Corruption and Influence Peddling
Batista and his company have been implicated and found guilty in several bribery allegations. From September 2017 to October 2018, the Brazilian court held Batista in custody on charges of making illegal gains in the financial market.
Operation Car Wash
In July 2016, Batista was included as a suspect in investigations related to Operation Car Wash. The Brazilian Federal Police (Portuguese: Polícia Federal or PF) accused Batista of bribing former Brazilian parliament president Eduardo Cunha, allegedly paid through JBS S.A. company, for the release of funds from the Fundo de Investimento do Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço (FI-FGTS).
On May 17, 2017, O Globo newspaper published a report containing recordings of a conversation in which Joesley Batista allegedly paid for Eduardo Cunha’s silence, who is currently in jail and under investigation. The report led to protests and calls for President Michel Temer’s resignation, causing a drop in the Brazilian stock market. On May 19, 2017, JBS admitted to bribing three Brazilian presidents – Michel Temer, Dilma Rousseff, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – over the previous 14 years.
The three presidents denied accepting bribes, but a recording showed that Temer gave the green light for Batista to pay him a monthly allowance in exchange for Cunha’s silence. JBS claimed to have paid a total of $123 million in bribes to Brazilian politicians in recent years. Rumors also circulated that Batista had demanded a $2 million bribe from Aécio Neves, a senator and former presidential candidate from the PSDB, one of Brazil’s largest political parties at the time. The Federal Police (PF) recorded the moment when the payment was made to the senator’s cousin, and the money was later traced to a bank account belonging to a company owned by Zeze Perrella, a PSDB senator from Minas Gerais.
The former president of the Securities Commission (CVM) referred to statements claiming that JBS had given bribes to 1,829 politicians. Temer accused Batista of manipulating the recording of their conversation about stock trading and accused him of insider trading. JBS denied any illegal activity. It was alleged that Joesley Batista and JBS obtained over R$10 billion in financing from BNDES at below-market interest rates as a result of this bribery. In exchange for their cooperation in making the recordings, the PF released Batista, his brother, and other JBS executives by paying a fine of R$225 million. Subsequently, Batista decided to move to the United States.
The Batista brothers’ agreement only applies to their physical persons, and negotiations are still ongoing regarding the penalties that will be applied to the superior holding company of J&F rather than JBS S.A. Previous negotiations had proposed a penalty of R$11 billion, which was rejected by Batista. In May 2017, CVM reportedly demanded $3.4 billion from JBS as part of a settlement. JBS hired law firm Baker McKenzie in May 2017 to negotiate potential charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Insider Trading Investigation
Prior to the publication of the recordings, Joesley Batista and his brother Wesley Batista sold a portion of their JBS S.A. shares and bought more than $1 billion. Following the publication of the recordings, there was a sharp drop in the price of JBS S.A. shares and the value of the Brazilian Real. CVM is investigating the Batista brothers for insider trading allegations.
On September 10, 2017, he was temporarily detained by the Federal Police at the request of Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot. The request was granted by Federal Supreme Court Judge Edson Fachin. On September 13, 2017, the 6th Federal Criminal Court ordered his arrest for allegedly using insider information to profit from the financial market between April and May 17, 2017, the date on which information regarding the collaboration agreement signed between J&F executives and the Prosecutor’s Office was disclosed. Joesley Batista was released from the Sao Paulo Federal Police cell on March 9, 2018, but was not allowed to leave the country and his passport was seized by the Federal Police.