Federal police in Brazil on July 1 searched the offices of JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker, as well as the home of its chairman, billionaire Joesley Batista, as part of an ongoing corruption probe that involves several businesses in Brazil.
The Wall Street Journal reported the early-morning raid on the São Paulo home of Batista lasted more than six hours. Police also searched the offices of J&F Investimentos, the holding company that controls the meat company.
JBS SA's biggest component is JBS USA, which was formed to buy the former Swift & Co. in 2007 and subsequently acquired 75 percent of American chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride. At an estimated $20 billion in sales, JBS USA is No. 4 on Food Processing's Top 100 list of U.S. and Canadian food & beverage processors.
The Journal reported that authorities believe Eldorado Brasil, a pulp-making subsidiary of J&F Investimentos, paid bribes to politicians to obtain low-cost financing from a federal infrastructure fund. The investigation was based on information obtained during a sprawling graft probe known as Operation Car Wash, which involves state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA and Brazil’s BNDES state development bank.
The Journal also noted that JBS surprised markets earlier this year when it announced a plan to move its international headquarters to Ireland and move its main stock market listing to the New York Stock Exchange.