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Batista’s OGX Probed in Brazil After Insider Trading Complaint

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s securities regulator started an investigation into billionaire Eike Batista’s OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA after a minority investor lodged a complaint over alleged insider trading.

The Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission, known as CVM, opened the review after a request by OGX individual investor Rafael Ferri, according to a statement on the regulator’s website dated today. The complaint relates to Batista’s sale of 126.7 million OGX shares between May and June before the company scrapped projects and warned it may stop pumping crude next year, Ferri said in an e-mailed statement.

Batista’s six publicly traded ventures have lost about $10 billion in value this year, led by an 88 percent drop in OGX. The shares slumped a record 29 percent on July 1 when the company said it may shut its only crude oil producing wells next year after output reached a fraction of original targets.

EBX Group Co., the holding for most of Batista’s assets, declined to comment on the CVM’s review. OGX’s press office in Rio didn’t immediately have a comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today. An official at CVM said the regulator doesn’t comment on individual cases.

Batista sold 56.2 million shares of OGX in June after divesting 70.5 million shares in late May as he seeks to raise cash to pay back debts. OGX shares gained 4.1 percent to 51 centavos in Sao Paulo trading today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Felipe Frisch in Sao Paulo at ffrisch1@bloomberg.net; Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro at jspinetto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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