SAO PAULO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The Batista family, which controls JBS SA, will nominate Wesley Batista Jr. as the meatpacker’s next chief executive officer on Monday, newspaper O Globo reported on Sunday.
Globo columnist Lauro Jardim said the family would make the nomination through its J&F Investimentos SA holding, which controls JBS, the world’s largest meat company.
J&F, in an emailed response, declined to comment on the matter.
The move comes after Brazil’s federal police detained JBS CEO Wesley Batista on Wednesday following an investigation into the role played by him and his younger brother in suspected insider trading ahead of a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.
The Batista family has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Wesley Batista Jr., 25, heads JBS USA’s beef division and is the imprisoned CEO’s son.
The decision to nominate Batista Jr. would deepen a rift between the family and Brazil’s BNDES state development bank.
BNDES Participações SA, the bank’s investment arm and holder of a 21 percent stake in JBS, is pushing to remove Batista as CEO, with the support of other minority shareholders.
In his column, Jardim wrote that BNDES was seeking to remove Tarek Farahat as chairman of JBS’ board and replace him with Cledorvino Belini, a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO for Latin America.
Nominating Batista Jr. may spark further questions regarding the commitment of the Batista family to implement strict governance practices in a company whose operations span from the Americas to Australia.
Joesley Batista, one of the brothers who own JBS, has been in temporary detention for a week after recordings suggested he tried to take advantage of prosecutors and conceal details during negotiations that led to the plea deal. He has denied this.
The insider trading case involving JBS and the Batistas follows probes by securities markets regulator CVM on trades both made before a plea deal between the brothers and prosecutors was announced in mid-May.
The disclosure of their plea bargain testimony, which involved key politicians, led to the filing of three corruption charges against President Michel Temer and to Brazil’s biggest market selloff in at least a decade.
Investigators suspect both brothers gained an unfair advantage in trading shares of JBS while helping the company build unusually high positions in currency futures and forwards in April and May. (Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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