RIO DE JANEIRO Eike Batista, as soon as the richest and most outspoken cheerleader for Brazil’s ill-fated commodities bubble, flew again to Rio de Janeiro Monday and was arrested on the airport by federal police over corruption allegations after 4 days as a fugitive.
Batista, a brash entrepreneur whose meteoric rise and fall made him the poster boy of a decade-long increase in Brazil that turned to bust three years in the past, is accused of paying a former Rio state governor hundreds of thousands in bribes. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Thursday.
Batista has not been formally charged. Under Brazilian legislation, solely prosecutors can file expenses, after police conclude an investigation.
The 60-year-old businessman, who has offered or forfeited his stakes within the vitality, mining and logistics empire generally known as EBX Group, was as soon as married to a Carnival queen and is the son of a former chief govt officer of mining firm Vale SA.
Five years in the past, he had a web value exceeding $30 billion and was thought of one of many world’s 10 richest individuals. On Monday, he had his hair implants shaved off earlier than he was locked in a shared cell in Rio’s infamous Bangu jail, authorities stated.
“I am returning to answer to the courts, as is my duty,” Batista informed the Globo tv community at New York’s JFK airport. “It’s time for me to clear this up.”
In May, Batista confirmed up on the southern Brazil workplaces of federal prosecutors main an enormous probe into political kickbacks made by scores of main corporations, in return for profitable contracts from state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
Batista informed prosecutors on the time that former Finance Minister Guido Mantega had requested, and he had made, a contribution of 5 million reais ($1.60 million) to cowl money owed from the profitable 2010 presidential marketing campaign of former President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached final yr for breaking funds guidelines.
Mantega was charged with corruption in September, due largely to Batista’s testimony, prosecutors stated. Both Mantega and Rousseff deny wrongdoing.
The sweeping corruption investigation, which now covers a number of state-run corporations, has jailed prestigious CEOs and main political figures, convicted greater than 80 individuals and confirmed some $2 billion in bribes paid over a number of years.
New testimony from plea bargains accredited on Monday is anticipated to implicate greater than 100 sitting politicians.
“I think federal prosecutors are cleaning up Brazil in a fantastic manner,” Batista informed Globo TV. “The Brazil that is being born now will be different.”
He added that he by no means supposed to flee and was in New York on enterprise. Batista declined to reply a reporter’s query about whether or not he thought of himself responsible or harmless.
Batista’s lawyer, Fernando Martins, informed reporters exterior a jail the place the businessman initially was taken that he had not but spoken along with his consumer however that he was apprehensive about his security.
Inmates with a university diploma, which Batista lacks, are often separated from the remainder of the inhabitants in Brazil’s crowded jail system, the place a collection of violent riots have erupted this yr.
A former wildcat gold miner, Batista attracted ravenous demand for shares in his mining and vitality ventures, which had been pressured out of business court docket as oil and mineral costs crashed.
Police accuse Batista of paying $16 million to former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral in alternate for assist of the businessman’s many Rio-based endeavors.
Cabral, who resigned from workplace in 2014, has been jailed since final yr in reference to different corruption expenses. His legal professionals have denied he dedicated any crimes.
The oil corporations OGX Petroleo e Gas SA and Oleo e Gas Participações SA and mining firm MMX, which had been based by Batista, stated on Monday that he now not held administrative roles, and his arrest would haven’t any affect on them.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Additional reporting by Brad Brooks in Sao Paulo and Paulo Prada in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Tom Brown)