Ban on asset sale to Minerva remains

by Erica Shaffer
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A Supreme Court justice rules lower court should hear any appeal.
SÃO PAULO, Brazil –  A lower court decision blocking the sale of assets owned by JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker, remains in place after a Brazilian Supreme Court justice declined an appeal by the company.

JBS believes the ban is without merit, but anti-trust authorities in Brazil must approve any asset sale. The meatpacker agreed to a deal to sell its South American beef operations in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to Pul Argentina SA, Frigomerc SA and Pulsa SA, respectively, for a total of $300 million. The companies are controlled by Minerva SA.

But federal prosecutors believe that the sale could jeopardize an investigation into bribes allegedly paid to regulators and more than 1,000 politicians. The company also is under scrutiny for loans made to the company by the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) through its subsidiary BNDESPAR.

In response to the allegations, BNDESPAR said the bank’s investments in JBS were “… in line with the current government policy” and that other meatpackers received support from BNDESPAR.

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