Prosecutors charge Batistas with insider trading

by Erica Shaffer
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Joesley and Wesley Batista are being held in pre-trial detention in São Paulo.
SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Federal prosecutors in Brazil have charged brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista with insider trading and market manipulation. The Batista brothers are controlling shareholders in the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA.

In a press conference held on Oct. 10, prosecutors explained their case against the Batistas. Joesley and Wesley Batista, they said, minimized financial losses by buying and selling millions of JBS shares before giving evidence as part of plea deal related to other bribery and corruption charges.

Under the agreement, the Batistas and other executives were given 120 days to gather and submit to prosecutors any evidence related to alleged bribes of more than 2,000 politicians and other government officials. Prosecutors said the brothers knew the revelations would cause shares of JBS to fall while lifting the US dollar.

“Together, Wesley and Joesley worked to reduce paper losses and profit from the purchase of the American currency, taking advantage of inside information and, as a consequence, manipulating the stock market,” the agency said in a statement.

The transactions occurred between March 31 and May 17. Prosecutors said the Batistas made a profit of R$100 million reais ($31,631,555), and avoided a loss of R$138.3 million reais ($43.6 million).

The Batista brothers currently are being held in pre-trial detention by federal police in São Paulo.

(1 US Dollar = 3.16 reais)

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