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on May 17, 2018

Ex-JBS chair Joesley Batista faces corruption charges

Former JBS controlling company executive and former prosecutor are also charged

Federal prosecutors in Brazil have charged former JBS Chairman Joesley Batista, accusing him of corruption, money laundering and obstruction of justice, according to a report.

Also charged were Francisco Assis, a former executive with Batista family holding and JBS controlling company J&F Investmentos, and Angelo Coulart, a former federal prosecutor.

Under the charges, Goulart is accused of leaking internal information from the prosecutors office to Batista and assis to ease their negotiations for a plea deal, reported Reuters.

Under terms of their 2017 plea deal signed a year ago, Batista and Assis confessed to certain corruption crimes and were exempted from prosecution for their cooperation.

However, Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin is considering annulling the plea deal, upon a September 2017 request from former prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot. Janot made the request during his final days in office, stating that the plea deal should be nullified because facts had been hidden from authorities.

The charges against Batista come two months after he was released from jail, where he had been since September 2017.

Batista, and his brother, Wesley Batista, had been jailed on suspicion of insider trading. Both allegedly used inside information to avoid financial losses after obtaining that information during the plea bargaining process for a scandal in which they admitted to bribing Brazilian politicians.

Wesley Batista served as CEO of JBS, a Brazil-based meat and poultry company, at the time, but following his September arrest, he was replaced in the role by his and Joesley’s father, José Batista Sobrinho, also the founder and namesake of the company.

Joesley’s tenure as JBS chairman ended about a year ago. He was initially replaced by Tarek Farahat. Farahat served in that capacity until October 2017, when the JBS board named Jeremiah O’Callaghan as its new chairman.

O’Callaghan had spent the previous 10 years as the investor relations officer of JBS.

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