World’s largest meat business faces corruption charges

World’s largest meat business faces corruption charges

Brazil-based JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, has seen its share price tumble after nine people connected either to the conglomerate that includes JBS or Banco Rural SA were charged with wrongdoing and financial crimes by  federal prosecutors in Sao Paulo.

Prosecutors have alleged that in 2011, companies within the JBS group received 80 million reais (around £14 million) of loans from Banco Rural, and then the group’s banking unit lent 80 million reais to a company that is part of the business group that includes Banco Rural.

JBS parent company, J&F Investimentos, has  issued an e-mailed statement which asserts that the company executives involved “feel confident and are prepared to present their defence, which will prove the regularity of financial operations”. Banco Rural was liquidated by the Brazilian central bank in 2013, and reportedly an e-mail sent to an address on its website wasn’t returned.

Analysts reporting on the financial news site, Bloomberg, estimate that JBS’s profits soared to a record last year as a slump in Brazil’s currency boosted exports. Adjusted net income jumped to 5.5 billion reais in 2015, more than doubling the 2014 total, according to the average forecast.

The investigation into JBS comes at a time of widening concern about corruption in Brazil, where some of the most important politicians and major companies have been involved in allegations that they participated in, or deliberately ignored, a bribery scheme known as ‘Carwash’.

It has also been rumoured that JBS is a leading contender to buy the Dunbia business based in Northern Ireland which is up for sale, but the company (Dunbia) has denied this.

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