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Ex-CEO Who Linked Brazil’s President to Corruption is Arrested

By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former JBS CEO, Joesley Batista surrendered to Brazilian authorities on Sunday afternoon after learning of an arrest warrant issued in his name on Saturday by Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin. Early Monday morning (September 11th) federal police raided and searched the billionaire’s home in São Paulo.

Brazil, São Paulo,Joesley Batista, leaves prosecutor's office after testimony in August 2017.
Joesley Batista, leaves prosecutor’s office after testimony in August 2017, photo by Rovena Rosa / Agência Brasil.

The warrant was issued after Brazil’s top prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, concluded that Batista withheld important information from his plea-bargaining testimony. After reviewing the latest recordings made by Batista last weel, Janot asked that the former executive’s immunity be revoked.

Along with Barista, a top executive of J&F (holding company for JBS), Ricardo Saud, also turned himself in. Batista and Saud were heard on the latest recordings discussing crimes committed and not divulged to police prior to the plea-bargaining agreement.

Batista and Saud’s defense, however, issued a statement over the weekend denying any wrongdoing and omission in their agreements with federal prosecutors. “(We) have not lied or omitted information in the process leading to the plea-bargaining agreement and are complying with the agreement,” read the statement.

Janot also called for the arrest of former federal prosecutor Marcelo Miller, claiming the former government official helped Batista secure the agreement by guiding him through the process. Supreme Court Justice Fachin, however, denied the request stating that there was no evidence of wrongdoing that would warrant an arrest.

Batista, once head of the world’s largest meat packing company, made headlines in May after releasing secret recordings which show President Michel Temer giving his endorsement to the pay-off of a top politician for his silence. The accusations against President Temer were made as part of a plea-bargaining agreement between Batista and federal prosecutors looking into illegal dealing of the meat tycoon in the Lava Jato corruption scandal.

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