Joesley Batista, the billionaire co-owner of JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, has turned himself in to authorities in Brazil after a request for his arrest was made. This is the latest development in a corruption scandal involving politicians and meat inspectors, while forcing the sale of various Batista family holdings.
Batista, 45, on Sunday afternoon entered police custody after an order was placed with the Supreme Court for his arrest on Friday. In addition to Batistia, J&F Investimentos SA executive Ricardo Saud also turned himself into authorities. J&F Investimentos SA is the holding company that controls JBS and a number of other companies owned by Batista and his family.
Both Joesley Batista and his brother Wesley have admitted to bribing politicians in a plea bargain testimony in May. There has not been a request to arrest Wesley Batista, thus far. The brothers resigned from their positions on the JBS board in May.
The home of Joesley Batista was raided by police on Monday following his surrender. According to Reuters, another home was raided in Rio de Janeiro owned by Marcelo Miller, a former federal prosecutor who allegedly aided Batista’s plea deal.
Brazil has seen political chaos in the past three years of a criminal investigation called Operation Car Wash, finding money laundering and bribes. A recording of Brazilian President Michel Temer alleges him endorsing hush payments made to possible witnesses in the probe.
Amidst the bribes to politicians, a meat inspection scandal was unearthed through Operation Weak Flesh. The investigation found that meat inspectors were bribed to pass meat through the system that was rotten. It forced 10 out of 36 beef packing plants in Brazil owned by JBS to temporarily shutdown in the spring and many countries halted imports of Brazilian meat.
Following all of the turmoil JBS has been selling off various holdings including packing plants in South America and a feedlot in Canada. JBS still plans to sell the 12 remaining Five Rivers Cattle Feeding feedlots in the U.S.