USDA’s Quarterly Enforcement Report of all its current legal actions will sometimes report that inspection services are being denied because an applicant has been convicted of some minor crime.

When USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service doesn’t inspect a meat or poultry operation, those products are not considered human food, and the company is out of business.

A sole proprietorship or a couple of partners are most likely to face this sort of policy, which is pretty much seen for dealing with the small fry; those companies owned by thousands of stockholders are treated differently.

Let’s consider the Batista brothers, Joesley and Wesley.  Both left the JBS, S.A. Board of Directors in 2018 after they were associated with the alleged bribery of nearly 2,000 public officials.  

In May 2017, secretly taped recordings leaked by a leading Brazilian newspaper had Brazil President Michel Temer discussing hush money pay-offs that went to former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.  

Temer was under immediate pressure to resign but had enough votes in Congress to escape an impeachment vote.  The Batista brothers did have to leave their JBS board positions and faced charges that included everything from jail time to record fines.

It took until last year for them to be acquitted of insider trading and win re-election to the JBS Board. Their return to the Board of Directors and the fact that JBS is seeking a dual listing on the New York Stock Exchange has put the Batista brothers in the spotlight.

An advocacy group calling itself “Ban the Batistas’ has emerged to oppose what it calls “the unchecked power grab by the majority shareholders, brothers Joesley and Wesley Batistas.”

“JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer, and its owners, the notorious Batista Brothers of Brazil, intend to list their shares on the New York Stock Exchange. This IPO must be stopped,” Ban the Batistas says.  “Allowing JBS to access the American equity market enables and rewards the corrupt, dangerous, and criminal behavior of the Batista brothers at the expense of American farmers, consumers, and investors.”

JBS USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS, S.A., also has a dominant presence in North America.

The Ban the Batistas campaign is calling on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to bar the Batista Brothers from U.S. markets in what it says would be “a decisive response to their ruthless onslaught on fair play.”

Others question that, pointing out that the SEC lacks the power to stop JBS from selling stock in the U.S.  According to financial experts, the company needs only to disclose its impact on the climate and other risks to investors.

“Ban the Batistas” is proving to be a creative group. After the brothers got themselves voted back onto the JBS Board of Directors, “Ban the Batistas” came up with “Joesley Day,” celebrating May 17, 2017, when the bribery recording came out with dire consequences for the Sao Paulo, stock market. It was the day that almost brought down the government of Brazil.

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