Executive Joesley Batista, owner of meatpacking giant JBS, is among the people arrested as part of Operation Capitu, launched Friday (Nov. 9) by the Federal Police. He is suspected of being involved in the payment of kickbacks to public officials in both the Agriculture Ministry and the lower house.
The police also arrested former minister of Agriculture and current vice-Governor of Minas Gerais Antônio Andrade, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the party of current President Michel Temer.
The authorities issued 63 search and seizure warrants and 19 temporary arrest orders, being exercised in six Brazilian states.
Investigators believe that a scheme had been organized to pocket kickbacks at the Agriculture Ministry and benefit MDB politicians, who received money from JBS brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista in exchange for measures favoring firms in the JBS group.
Joesley Batista’s counsel said the arrest order of their client came as a surprise, as the executive had been in strict cooperation with the authorities.
“We were perplexed to receive the arrest warrant amid an inquiry under which he has granted more than one testimony as collaborator and turned in a series of documents to corroborate. The imprisonment is temporary, and he will provide all required clarifications,” lawyer André Callegari is quoted as saying.