JBS's Batista Brothers Charged with Insider Trading by Brazilian Prosecutors

Prosecutors in Brazil have charged Wesley and Joesley Batista, former board members and controlling shareholders of JBS, with insider trading and market manipulation.

On Oct. 10, the Batista brothers, owners of the world’s largest meat packer, were formally charged for currency and stock trades they made in advance of a plea deal on May 17.

Prosecutors say the transactions occurred between March 31 and May 17. The brothers were entering a plea deal with federal prosecutors after Wesley and Joesley admitted to bribing 1,900 politicians.

The Batistas are believed to have profited 100 million reais ($32 million) from foreign currency trades according to prosecutors. Another 138 million reais ($44 million) was likely saved by selling JBS stock prior to its 9.7 percent fall on May 18.

Wesley and Joesley’s involvement in the bribery scheme goes all the way to the top of Brazilian politics with President Michel Temer alleged endorsement of bribes.

J&F Investimentos SA, holding company managing the Batista family assets, is also being investigated for violating the terms of a leniency deal. The holding company was fined 10.3 billion reais ($3.2 billion) in May for its involvement in the bribery scandal. The Batista family owns a 42% stake in JBS.