J&F Investimentos, parent company of Brazil’s JBS, pleads guilty to US foreign bribery charges

Brazil’s J&F Investimentos plead guilty to US foreign bribery charges and agreed to pay $128.25 million in criminal fines.
calendar icon 15 October 2020
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In another episode, a J&F executive bought a $1.5 million New York City apartment through a shell company, then transferred it to a Brazilian official who ensured that Petros did a deal beneficial to J&F, the court documents show.

The documents said two J&F executives and five Brazilian government officials were part of the "pay-to-play" scheme. They did not disclose names.

Joesley Batista, who steered JBS from a Brazilian beef processing firm to a global food conglomerate, and his brother Wesley were arrested in 2017 on obstruction of justice and insider trading charges. They were released in 2018.

Lucio Martins, director of compliance at J&F, which in addition to JBS has investments in pulp paper, cosmetics, energy, media and finance, pleaded guilty to violations of the US Foreign Corruption Practices Act on behalf of the company in US District Court in Brooklyn via video conference.

J&F also agreed on 14 October to pay $27 million to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges related to the bribery scheme.

($1 = 5.58 reais)

Read more about this story here.

A US charging document said that between 2005 and 2017 the company conspired to bribe officials to secure financing and "equity transactions" from state-controlled banks BNDES and Caixa Economica Federal, as well as Petros, the pension fund for employees of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA .

The bribes J&F executives paid to high-level government officials exceeded $150 million, which generated $178 million in profit for the company, US prosecutors said.

One Brazilian official with "significant influence" over BNDES ensured that the development bank bought some $2 billion in debentures in December 2009, shortly after JBS made a US acquisition, according to the plea deal.

The agreement did not name Pilgrim's Pride Corp, but the timeline appears to coincide with JBS's purchase of the US poultry company. On 14 October, Pilgrim's Pride said it would pay a $110.5 million fine after striking an unrelated plea deal with the Justice Department over price fixing charges on chicken products.

In another episode, a J&F executive bought a $1.5 million New York City apartment through a shell company, then transferred it to a Brazilian official who ensured that Petros did a deal beneficial to J&F, the court documents show.

The documents said two J&F executives and five Brazilian government officials were part of the "pay-to-play" scheme. They did not disclose names.

Joesley Batista, who steered JBS from a Brazilian beef processing firm to a global food conglomerate, and his brother Wesley were arrested in 2017 on obstruction of justice and insider trading charges. They were released in 2018.

Lucio Martins, director of compliance at J&F, which in addition to JBS has investments in pulp paper, cosmetics, energy, media and finance, pleaded guilty to violations of the US Foreign Corruption Practices Act on behalf of the company in US District Court in Brooklyn via video conference.

J&F also agreed on 14 October to pay $27 million to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges related to the bribery scheme.

($1 = 5.58 reais)

Read more about this story here.

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