JBS Batista brothers charged with insider trading

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Prosecutors called the actions of Batista brothers Joesley and Wesley (pictured) 'illegal'
Prosecutors called the actions of Batista brothers Joesley and Wesley (pictured) 'illegal'

Related tags Stock market Allegation Jbs Beef Pork Poultry

Joesley and Wesley Batistia, the billionaire brothers of scandal-rocked Brazilian meatpacker JBS, have been charged with insider trading by prosecutors who allege the duo pocketed over US$30m.

Brazilian prosecutors claim the duo manipulated the stock market by selling JBS shares in Brazilian rais and buying American dollars days before their plea bargain​ went public.

By doing this, the brothers allegedly knew the value of JBS shares would fall, thus using insider knowledge to profit on the change in currency value, earning R$100m (US$31.5m).

The pair had a “deep knowledge of the business world​” enabling them to “reduce paper losses and profit from the purchase of American currency​”, prosecutors said this week.

Criminal allegations

Newspapers around the world are already calling it one of the biggest political scandals in Brazilian history.

The latest issue that has already reached the highest levels of politics comes after Joesley and Wesley Batistia were arrested last month.

Criminal and corruption allegations facing JBS have been covered by this site for nearly two years, but details of the biggest sting to hit the business emerged in May 2017.

The brothers, along with five other JBS executives, signed a plea bargain revealing Joesley Batistia discussed bribing the now-imprisoned politician Eduardo Cunha with Brazil’s President Michel Temer.

‘Unjust, absurd and regrettable’

The meeting in which Joesley Batista secretly recorded talking to Temer happened on 7 March.

Three weeks later, on 28 March, the seven JBS executives signed a confidential plea bargain with prosecutors. Brazil’s Supreme Court approved the leniency deal on 11 May. It was leaked to the press on 17 May, according to the country’s Federal Prosecution Service (FPS).

The FPS alleges the “illegal sale​” of shares transpired between 31 March and 17 May – a period during which JBS brothers has privileged information on events that would have a major impact on the value of the company’s stock.

The Batistas’ lawyer, Pierpaolo Bottini, could not be reached to comment on the latest development.

But upon the arrest of the duo last month he called the allegations “unjust, absurd and regrettable​”.

What did the duo do?

  • Joesley Batistia ordered the sale of 37,427,900 shares on JBS stock between 20 April and 17 May.
  • Wesley Batistia approved the purchase of 23,037,500 JBS shares by JBS SA between 24 April and 17 May.
  • These transactions allegedly softened financial losses

    Source: FPS

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