BRASILIA, Brazil – The chief executives at JBS SA, the world’s biggest beef exporter, are being investigated for fraud and have been ordered by a federal judge to suspend their corporate roles, avoid all capital market activity and forfeit their passports, according to Reuters. The fraud investigation, launched by Brazilian police on Sept. 5, is investigating state-run companies’ pension funds.
JBS issued a statement addressing the issue, but was unable to confirm the media reports that a judge was suspending Wesley and Joesley Batista from their executive positions. According to the statement: “The company did not have formal access to the full content of the judge's decision and its extension. JBS legal advisors are acting to get complete access to the proceeding and the mentioned decision as well as its repercussion to the Company.”
According to reports, police arrested five people, conducted more than 24 interrogations and issued over 100 search warrants.
JBS shares fell 10 percent in response to the news as reports loom about the possibility that brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista, the chief executives for JBS, might be suspended from their roles with the company. The Batista brothers are also chief executives for J&F Investimentos, their family's holding company.
This investigation of pension funds is the latest in a series of investigations into potential corruption in Brazilian business and politics, according to Reuters. The four pension funds under investigation controlled about $280 billion reals ($76.8 billion) in assets last year.