business

Meat Tycoon Joesley Batista to Be Released From Jail by Court

  • Older brother Wesley Batista was freed from prison last month
  • Brothers who control meat giant JBS were arrested in September

Joesley Batista listens during a congressional inquiry hearing at the National Congress building in Brasilia on Nov. 28, 2017. 

Photographer: Andre Coelho/Bloomberg

Meat tycoon Joesley Batista will be released after six months in jail, the second win in the past few weeks for the Brazilian brothers who control meatpacking giant JBS SA and are battling allegations of insider trading.

Joesley, 46, is set to be released Friday, his lawyer Andre Callegari said by phone. The information was reported earlier by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. JBS and the Batistas’ family holding company J&F Investimentos SA declined to comment.

Older brother Wesley Batista, the former chief executive officer of JBS, was released last month at the direction of the a court in Brasilia. Joesley also got a similarly favorable decision in the insider-trading case, but remained in jail under a separate order for allegedly concealing information during previous negotiations over a plea bargain. Prosecutors have asked for the plea deals signed by both brothers to be revoked, a decision that still has to be confirmed by Brazil’s Supreme Court.

The saga surrounding JBS, the world’s largest meat company, has transfixed Brazilians and sent prices of its bonds and shares on a roller-coaster ride in the past year. In May, it was revealed that the brothers had reached an agreement with the authorities to stay out jail after after testifying about a long-running scheme to bribe politicians, news that sent Brazilian markets, and the real, reeling.

When the brothers were jailed in September, JBS appointed their father -- 84-year-old Jose Batista Sobrinho, as its new CEO. The company’s shares and bonds eventually rebounded as it renegotiated its debt with banks and quickly sold assets. Meat operations in the U.S., which account for more than two-thirds of JBS’s revenues, have benefited from rising demand both at home and abroad, while the cost of feeding livestock and poultry remains low.

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