Batista’s Bank Accounts Said to Only Cover Daily ExpensesBlake Schmidt
Former billionaire Eike Batista only has enough money in his bank accounts to cover “day-to-day expenses,” according to Sergio Bermudes, one of his lawyers.
Bermudes said a judge ordered as much as 1.5 billion reais ($642 million) of Batista’s bank accounts frozen as a preventive measure after federal prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro state accused him of financial-market crimes and requested his assets be blocked.
“I can guarantee we don’t have 1.5 billion reais in accounts,” Bermudes said by phone, adding at least one account has as little as “1 real left,” without being more specific.
Once the world’s eighth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Batista’s commodities empire collapsed last year, led by flagship Oleo & Gas Participacoes SA, formerly known as OGX. The Rio de Janeiro-based company filed for bankruptcy protection in October after spending more than 10 billion reais since it was founded in 2007. OSX Brasil SA, Batista’s shipbuilding company, has also entered Brazil’s judicial-recovery process.
The amount of the asset-freeze request is approximately equal to the damage to financial markets as a result of the crimes of which he’s accused, according to a statement posted on the prosecutors’ office’s website Sept. 13. It may include homes, cars, boats, airplanes and financial holdings.
Batista, 57, is already accused by the country’s securities regulator of insider trading over his sale of shares in the oil company before its downfall.
His lawyers have said he sold the shares to pay back creditor Mubadala Development Co. and not because he anticipated project failures, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg. Bermudes, a civil lawyer who says he is coordinating Batista’s judicial affairs, said the allegations are “groundless.”