Eike Batista charged in Rio corruption probe-NewsCO

February 8, 2017

Eike Batista leaves the Federal Police headquarters in Rio, 31 Jan 2017Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Eike Batista (in white) was at one time listed as the world’s seventh richest man

Brazilian prosecutors have charged the former billionaire tycoon, Eike Batista, and the former governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral, with involvement in a corruption ring.

Both men are at a high security prison in Rio. They deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Batista, once Brazil’s richest man, has been accused of paying $16.5m (£13.2m) in bribes to Mr Cabral.

As governor of Rio, Mr Cabral oversaw the construction of infrastructure for the 2014 football World Cup.

Mr Batista was arrested last month on arrival from New York.

He gave himself up to police and vowed to clear his name.

“I’m at the disposal of the courts,” he told O Globo newspaper before boarding the plane to Rio.

No university degree

Mr Batista’s lawyer told reporters his client would help investigators with all information about the charges.

However he did not answer questions during a police interview last week.


Who is Eike Batista?

Image copyright
AFP

  • Seen by many as the face of Brazilian capitalism
  • Bold, extravagant and charismatic, he made most of his fortune during the commodities boom that brought great wealth to Brazil
  • Listed in 2012 by Forbes Magazine as the world’s seventh-richest man, with an estimated fortune of $35bn
  • His Grupo EBX conglomerate spanned mining, oil, shipbuilding and logistics
  • After EBX collapsed following a crash in demand for commodities, his wealth slumped to under $1bn (£800m)

Mr Batista is one of Brazil’s most famous businessmen and made a fortune in commodities over the past decades.

It is reported that he lost virtually all of his mining empire, as projects that had been sold to investors failed to materialise.

Under Brazilian law, Mr Batista would have been sent to a special prison wing if he had a university degree.

But as he dropped out before finishing his engineering degree in Germany, he will be serving time in an ordinary cell with six other inmates at the Bangu penitentiary.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Mr Cabral has been in prison since November

Mr Cabral and his wife, lawyer Adriana Anselmo, are also at the Bangu jail, but on different wings.

They were arrested last year but have not been charged.

Twelve people in total were charged earlier on Wednesday. Among them are Mr Cabral’s ex-wife and his brother.

Prosecutors say Mr Cabral paid generous allowances to them with corruption money from Odebrecht, Brazil’s biggest construction company.

Odebrecht’s CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, is serving a 19-year prison sentence for money laundering and bribery involving Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras.

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