It has been an undeniably bad year for JBS and the wider Brazilian meat industry, with the Carne Fraca scandal breaking in the first months of the year, sanctions on trade being imposed by countries importing meat from the nation and JBS having to sell off assets to pay a fine. Now the news that JBS CEO Wesley Batista has been arrested on suspicion of insider trading has put yet another nail in the coffin.
Batista’s brother Joesley, former chairman of JBS, handed himself in to the police earlier this week as both had previously admitted to bribing politicians. The insider trading allegations may come as no surprise, given the depth of corruption exposed by the investigations into the industry in Brazil. The fraud is said to be worth $44 million, and stems from the Batistas selling their JBS shares with prior knowledge that the bribery allegations would soon come to light and the company would struggle financially. They were absolutely right, but failed to cover their tracks enough to get away with the timely sale of their shares.
Earlier in the year recordings of conversations involving Batista, Michel Temer and other high profile figures threatened a plea bargain the brothers had made regarding their corruption charges, and this latest news further undermines their integrity as well as the standing of Temer and other high ranking politicians. Perhaps 2018 will be the year Brazil can shake off this scandal and return to business.