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Brazil's J&F agrees to pay $3.2 billion fine in leniency agreement

03 June 2017

Brazil's massive, yearslong corruption investigation has reached a historic mile-marker: J&F Investimentos, the holding company behind meatpacking giant JBS SA, agreed to pay roughly $3.2 billion in fines for its involvement in a vast graft scandal that has reached even President Michel Temer.

In their testimony, JBS Chairman Joesley Batista and Chief Executive Wesley Batista, who stepped down from their positions last week, admitted to paying US$150 million to almost 1,900 Brazilian politicians and government officials.

Although the Batista brother's testimony claims that they only engaged in bribery within Brazil, the worldwide scope of JBS operations opens them up to a situation similar to Odebrecht's.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office says the agreement was reached Tuesday night and that the fine will be paid over 25 years.

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Joesley Batista is at the center of a corruption investigation into Temer, after secretly recording a conversation in which the president appeared to condone bribing a potential witness.

Operation Car Wash is Brazil's biggest-ever corruption investigation which has been running for more than three years and involves an increasing amount of people.

The JBS testimony was the most damaging yet to Brazil's political class, hitting virtually all major figures past and present.

Temer has said the recording is genuine and was taken from a meeting in March but denies any wrongdoing.

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As part of the deal and plea bargain, it is understood owners Joesley and Wesley Batista, who have already resigned from their board positions at the company, gave a testimony.

Common shares in JBS rose 8 percent on Wednesday morning to 8 reais as investors bet the meatpacker may be forced to hand out extra dividends to help its controlling shareholder pay the fine.

Reportedly, the total is said to represent 5.62% of the Group's income before tax in the year 2016. Other JBS executives in plea-bargain testimony accused Temer of taking almost $5 million in bribes from the company in recent years.

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Brazil's J&F agrees to pay $3.2 billion fine in leniency agreement