Did you get something big for Christmas? Big?!! I bet it was not as big as the gift a Brazilian Supreme Court judge gave J&F, the family investment firm that controls the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS.
Right before Christmas, a Brazilian Supreme Court justice suspended $10.3 billion or about $2.1 billion U.S. of fines imposed under a 2017 “leniency agreement” that J&F had reached with the government of Brazil.
Joesley and Wesley Batista, which control JBS through J&F investments, admitted in a plea bargain to paying about $180 million in bribes to numerous Brazilian officials, including those providing state-backed financing and food safety regulators.
The plea bargain included fines totaling $3.2 billion. The court ruled the payments could be suspended because J&F has adhered to the 2017 agreement with federal prosecutors. J&F asked for the suspension, saying the prosecutors were biased and had taken “clearly persecutory actions.”
J&F Investments is the controlling shareholder in JBS. SA. It employs more than 250,000 people in 190 countries, including those in North America employed by the Greeley, CO-based JBS, USA.
Dias Toffoli is the high court judge who reduced the fine. It’s unclear if the reduction is below the amount the Batistas have already paid. J&F reportedly has paid 2.9 billion reals or $593 million toward the original total fine.
Some of the financing backed by Brazil helped JBS expand in the United States. It purchased Swift and Company in a $1.5 billion all-cash deal on July 12, 2007.
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