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Controversial billionaires Wesley and Joesley Batista arrested during Operation Lava Jato travel with Lula to China

Brothers were arrested during Operation Lava Jato and became informants of the scheme involving BNDES and the J&F group.

The Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Favaro, invited a committee of 88 businessmen and representatives of agribusiness entities to accompany President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s trip to China next week.

The group’s members are brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista, from the J&F Group, who even signed a plea bargain during the Lava-Jato investigation.

The brothers, arrested in 2017, were responsible for accusations that affected, in particular, former President Michel Temer and Congressman Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG).

Temer was even indicted by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) for obstruction of justice – in 2019, he was acquitted.

Aécio denied any illegality.

Wesley and Joesley Batista. (Photo internet reproduction)
Wesley and Joesley Batista. (Photo internet reproduction)

Joesley even delivered to the MPF recordings of a conversation with Temer in which the two talked about an alleged purchase of the silence of former deputy Eduardo Cunha.

In 2018, he presented documents detailing cash 2 payments to various parties.

Joesley’s statements also led the Federal Prosecutor’s Office to denounce Guido Mantega, Finance Minister in the Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments, and former BNDES President Luciano Coutinho for alleged irregularities in transactions between the bank and the J&F group.

Although it has not been proven, Joesley even cited two Lula and Dilma Rousseff campaigns in depositions transfers abroad for cash.

In 2020, Justice Luiz Edson Fachin of the Supreme Court approved renegotiating the plea agreement signed between the PGR and the brothers.

Under the agreement, they agreed to pay a fine of R$1 billion (US$250 million), preventing them from being convicted for the crimes cited.

Also on the list is Kleverson Scheffer, Erai Maggi’s son, who will represent the Maggi group, one of the largest soybean exporters in the world.

The committee will also include leaders from Marfrig and Bayer.

According to the presidency, the government will not pay for the trip of the business people, who will have to pay their own expenses.

Here is some more information about the Batistas:

  • Wesley Batista is one of two billionaire brothers who control publicly traded JBS S.A., one of the world’s largest meat processing companies.
  • Their father, Jose Batista Sobrinho, founded a small butcher shop in central Brazil in 1953. It grew by acquiring slaughterhouses in the region.
  • Wesley and his brother Joesley took control in the 2000s, leading JBS’s 2007 acquisition of U.S. pork and beef processor Swift & Co. for US$225 million.
  • In 2017 Wesley was arrested as part of a large Brazilian bribery probe and reportedly held for six months.
  • In May 2017, the brothers agreed to pay Brazilian authorities a US$3.2 billion fine to atone for their role in an enormous corruption scandal.


Lula had asked Favaro to assemble a robust business people committee for the Chinese mission to strengthen relations between China and Brazil.

The group should embark on March 20 and arrive five days before Lula for a series of preparatory meetings. The return of the business people is scheduled for March 30.

Among the planned agreements is one that foresees the reduction of barriers to agricultural exports.

One of the demands that Lula and Favaro will take with them will be the return of beef exports from Brazil to the Chinese, suspended since the identification of a “mad cow” case in Pará.

See the complete list of business people:

  • Antônio Jorge Camardelli – ABIEC
  • Cínthia Torres – Technical Director – ABIEC
  • José Roberto Goulart – ALIBEM
  • Wesley Mendonça Batista – J&F JBS
  • Joesley Mendonça Batista – J&F/JBS
  • Gilberto Tomazoni – CEO JBS Global
  • Carlos Alberto Macedo Cidade – Director, JBS Inst. Relations
  • Marcio Soares Rodrigues – Manager JBS
  • Pedro Felippe Castellain Barbosa de Castro – Director Asia Exp.
  • Renato Mauro Menezes Costa – Friboi
  • Marcela de Souza Afonso Rocha – JBS Director
  • Lincoln Bueno – President Mercury – Food
  • Paulo Sérgio Mustefaga – ABRAFRIGO
  • José João Batista Stival Júnior – ABRAFRIGO
  • Lincoln Lafaiete – ABRAFRIGO
  • Marcos Antonio Pompei – ABRAFRIGO
  • Rogerio Jose Bonato – ABRAFRIGO
  • João Gonçalves Silva Júnior – ABRAFRIGO
  • Etivaldo Vadão Gomes – Frigoestrela
  • Etivaldo Gomes Filho – Frigoestrela
  • Eduardo Gomes Caluz da Silva – Frigoestrela
  • Ivon da Silva Jr – Frigorífico SILVA
  • Daniela da Silva – Frigorífico SILVA
  • Adilton Bittencourt – BOA CARNE
  • Rafaella Bittencourt – BOA CARNE
  • Murilo Leite – FRISACRE
  • Maria Carolina Rebollo Machado Leite – FRISACRE
  • Fabio Ricardo Leite – FRISACRE
  • Marcos Paulo Parente Araujo – FRISACRE
  • Maíra Santiago Pires Parente – FRISACRE
  • Luana da Silva Machado – FRISACRE
  • João de Almeida Sampaio Filho – Vice President Minerva.
  • Fabiano Parisoto – Director Bugio Ecofrigo Group
  • Decio Coutinho – President ABRA
  • Sandro Silva de Oliveira Júnior – SUPREMO
  • Ricardo Santin – President ABPA
  • Luis Rua – Director ABPA Markets
  • Linda Chen – ABPA Representative in Asia
  • Marcos Antonio Molina dos Santos – President of the BRF Board
  • Márcia Aparecida Pascoal Marçal dos Santos – BRF Board Member
  • Rogério Moraes – Director Asia BRF
  • Bruno Machado Ferla – Legal and IR Vice-President BRF
  • Johnny Hiroki Fujihara – Asia Aurora Manager
  • Carlos Augusto dos Santos Zanchetta – Director Zanchetta Alimentos
  • Alisson Navarro – Marfrig
  • Cláudio Almeida Faria – Rio Branco Alimentos.
  • José Roberto Gonçalves – Director of Quality BRF
  • Marcio Rodrigues – Masterboi
  • Alexandre Pedro Schenkel – President ABRAPA
  • Edson Mizoguchi – ABRAPA Quality Program Coordinator
  • Marcelo Duarte – International Relations Director ABRAPA
  • Jones Yasuda – Technical Advisor ABRAPA
  • Thomas Paul Reinhart – Commercial Advisor ABRAPA
  • Marcelo de Godoy – CEO Simbiose Fertilizantes
  • Juan Henrique Mena Acosta – Bioinsumos Association
  • João Bello Neto – Nortox
  • Fabiano Maluf Amui – OUROFINO
  • Geraldo Ubirajara Berger – BAYER
  • Daniel Bernardes Fereira Rossi – HUBIO AGRO
  • Reginaldo Minaré – ABBINS
  • Pablo Gimenez Machado – Executive Director Asia SUZANO CELULOSE
  • Amaury Pekelman – Relationship Director Paper Excellence Institute
  • Claudio Laert Cotrim Passos – Paper Excellence
  • Marcelo Kim Yuen Pan Legal Director – Paper Excellence
  • André Meloni Nassar ABIOVE – (sector: vegetable oils)
  • Clébio Henrique Polvani Marques – VANCOUROS
  • Vinícius Vanzella de Souza – VANCOUROS
  • Andressa Silva – ABIARROZ
  • João José Pietro Flávio – OCB
  • Nelson Catarino Croda Machado – APROSMAT
  • Kleverson Scheffer – MAGGI
  • Julio Fortini – Ecoplan
  • Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Andrade Filho – CAOA Representative
  • Fábio Phelipe Garcia Pagnozzi – Brics Institute
  • Pedro Paulo Pagnozzi – Brics Institute
  • Mario Pagnozzi – Brics Institute
  • Fabrício Patriani – Brics Institute
  • Lijun Lei – Brics Institute
  • Itamar Antônio Canossa – President of the Mato Grosso Agro Forum
  • Ivanilse Tofoli Canossa – Mato Grosso Agricultural Forum
  • Fernando Costa – University of Brazil
  • Marcelo Peres – University of Brazil
  • Sueme Mori – CNA
  • Tarcisio Sachetti – Agro Investments Sachetti
  • Alexandre Ferreira Lopes – MECH – Center for Chinese Market Studies
  • Ricardo Gracia – MECH – Center for Chinese Market Studies
  • João Marcelo Costa Fernandez Conde – AfrinvestDereck
  • Favero Birchall – Afrinvest

With information from BSM

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