Brazilian police again arrest Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest man
09 Aug 2019

Police in Brazil on Thursday arrested Eike Batista, the charismatic mining and oil magnate who was once the country’s richest man, on suspicion of money laundering and insider trading.

Police and prosecutors said in statements that they arrested the eccentric former billionaire in Rio de Janeiro on a temporary basis. They also executed search warrants at the houses of a former executive at one of his firms, and the residences of Batista’s sons, Thor and Olin.

Batista has been under house arrest since early 2017 on separate charges. In early 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for paying a $16.5 million bribe to now-imprisoned former Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabal in exchange for state construction contracts.

Batista, who is appealing his conviction, could not immediately be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Fernando Martins, called the new detention arbitrary because it was based on “alleged facts” that occurred in 2010 and 2013 and did not warrant his arrest.

Batista’s meteoric rise and fall mirrored the recent fortunes of Brazil, where a commodities boom faded as his energy, mineral and logistics empire fell apart earlier this decade. His swashbuckling attitude and confident forecasts of a prolonged golden era for Brazil evaporated as Latin America’s largest economy suffered its worst recession on record.

Batista’s bribery conviction was linked to the rights to run Brazil’s most famous soccer stadium, the Maracana in Rio, which held the 2014 World Cup final and the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.

By Gram Slattery and Rodrigo Viga Gaier, Reuters, 8 August 2019

Read more at Reuters

Photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

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