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US hits Brazil's J&F with $256 mln corruption fine

·1-min read
In the latest fallout from a long-running scandal, Brazil's J&F, owner of meat processor JBS, admitted to bribing government officials
In the latest fallout from a long-running scandal, Brazil's J&F, owner of meat processor JBS, admitted to bribing government officials

US authorities hit Brazilian conglomerate J&F Investimentos with a fine of more than $256 million after the company plead guilty in a wide-reaching corruption case, the US Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The company, which owns meatpacking giant JBS, admitted to paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil using US banks and real estate, including a Manhattan apartment, in a scheme that violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Justice Department said in a statement.

"J&F has admitted to engaging in a long-running scheme to bribe corrupt officials in Brazil to obtain financing and other benefits for the company," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt.

From 2005 to 2017 the company paid officials, including from Brazilian state development bank BNDES and state oil company Petrobras' pension fund Petros, in exchange for deals and favorable treatment, the statement said.

In a related matter, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it fined JBS about $27 million, while the company's owners Joesley and Wesley Batista each will pay $550,000.

J&F have faced lengthy fallout from the 2017 scandal that threatened to bring down then-president Michel Temer, including a $1.4 billion fine paid to the Brazilian government on top of over $400 million in contributions to social projects.

hs/dw