Brazil's Federal Police carried out the preventive arrest of Wesley Batista, chief executive of meatpacking giant JBS, this morning (Sep. 13) in São Paulo.
A preventive arrest warrant was also issued against his brother Joesley Batista, already imprisoned in Brasília since Monday (11), facing other charges.
The crackdown comes as part of the second stage of operation Achilles’s Tendon, which investigates insider trading from April 24 to May 17 this year. During this period, data were released linked to the leniency deal forged by J&F—owned by the two brothers—and the Prosecutor-General's Office.
The probe investigates the selling of shares of JBS S/A at the stock exchange by the controlling company FB Participações S/A, and the purchase of these shares by JBS. The market was manipulated, and shareholders took some of the losses arising from the lower share prices.
Another issue was the intense trading of dollar derivatives by JBS, not in line with the usual transactions conducted by the firm, which benefited from the hike in the US currency after May 17.
The suspects may face charges of using insider information not yet released to the market for their own benefit. The sentence may consist of one to give years in jail and a fine of up to three times the amount obtained through the wrongdoing.
The defense lawyers of the two brothers deplore the move. “The imprisonment of someone who has always been cooperative towards the authorities—giving testimonies and procuring all documents required—is unjust, outrageous and unfortunate. The Brazilian state avails itself of all means to take revenge on those willing to cooperate with the authorities.”
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira