In a statement posted on the JBS SA website, the company said “…it became aware of the detention of its Global CEO, Wesley Batista, this morning, as a result of a decision signed by the 6th Federal Criminal Jurisdiction of São Paulo.
“The company has not accessed the full content of this decision and will promptly disclose to the market any relevant facts regarding this matter.”
Federal prosecutors allege that Joesley and Wesley Batista authorized the sale of millions of JBS shares weeks before submitting evidence of bribes paid to nearly 2,000 Brazilian officials, knowing that the disclosures would cause the company’s share price to fall. The revelations sparked a sell-off on the Brazilian stock exchange, and trading was suspended temporarily. The Batistas later repurchased the shares at a significantly lower price, prosecutors allege.
In June, the Federal Police in Brazil launched a raid on the offices of JBS SA and FB Participações SA as part of an investigation into insider trading that was coordinated with the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) in Brazil. The investigation is focused on the sale of shares issued by JBS SA on the stock exchange, by its parent company, FB Participações, at the end of April; and the purchase of futures contracts on the futures exchange and the dollar futures contract in the over-the-counter market between the end of April and mid-May 2017. Wesley Batista’s arrest is related to the insider trading investigation.
Wesley Batista’s arrest comes just days after Joesley Batista surrendered to legal authorities after the Brazilian Supreme Court approved a warrant for his arrest on charges he reneged on the terms of the same plea deal. Under the agreement, the executives were given 120 days to gather and hand over to prosecutors any evidence related to alleged bribes of politicians and other government officials.
But Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot said the plea deal his office made with the Batistas could be partially revoked after a four-hour recording surfaced of Joesley Batista and another executive discussing crimes that were omitted from the plea agreement.