U.S. fines JBS officials for bribery, conspiracy
Brazilian meat executives have been fined nearly 27-million dollars for a multi-year bribery scheme that aided their U.S. market expansion.
JBS and J & F Investments, along with leaders Joesley and Wesley Batista have agreed to pay the fine after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission found they paid out nearly 150-million dollars in bribes which helped them acquire Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation in 2009. The SEC says the bribes were at the direction of the former Brazilian Finance Minister involving funds from both companies, which shared office space, accounting systems, and had overlapping board members and executives.
Along with the SEC’s 27-million dollar fine, the Batistas will each pay a 550-thousand-dollar civil penalty, but the penalties don’t stop there. The U.S. Department of Justice also announced J & F Investments plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, adding a criminal penalty of more than 256-million dollars.
The SEC investigation was assisted by the Brazilian government.
In a separate court case, Pilgrim’s Pride will pay another 110-million-dollars after being found guilty of restraining competition affecting three chicken product contracts for a U.S. buyer.