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Brazilian company fined $3.2B over bribery

By Andrew V. Pestano
The J&F Participações, which is the controlling shareholder of the JBS SA meat-packing giant, has 25 years starting in December to pay the Brazilian government a $3.2 billion fine over a large bribery scheme. Photo courtesy of JBS SA
The J&F Participações, which is the controlling shareholder of the JBS SA meat-packing giant, has 25 years starting in December to pay the Brazilian government a $3.2 billion fine over a large bribery scheme. Photo courtesy of JBS SA

June 1 (UPI) -- Brazil's public prosecutor said J&F Participações, the controlling shareholder of the JBS SA meat-packing giant, will pay a $3.2 billion fine for its role in corruption.

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office late Tuesday said the J&F group has agreed to a leniency deal that will be signed in the coming days. J&F will begin making payments in December and has 25 years to pay the fine, which will be adjusted for inflation, prosecutors said.

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About a fourth of the fine payments will be used in social projects for education, health and corruption prevention.

J&F will still need to face U.S. courts where anti-corruption laws are tougher and carry heavier fines and sanctions, Jornal O Globo reported.

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The deal struck by the prosecutor's office and J&F is related to the Bullish and Weak Flesh investigations that uncovered bribes paid by JBS to Brazilian politicians and meat inspectors. JBS also received loans -- by using a subsidiary -- considered questionable from Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank, prosecutors said.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is linked to the scandal; the owners of J&F, Joesley and Wesley Batista, told prosecutors as part of a plea bargain agreement that they've paid millions of dollars in bribes to nearly 1,900 politicians, including presidents.

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Temer also purportedly endorsed Joesley Batistas' hush money payments to silence jailed politician Eduardo Cuhna as a potential witness in a corruption investigation in a secret recording that was later leaked.

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Temer replaced former President Dilma Rousseff in August 2016 when the Federal Senate voted to remove her from office over accusations she broke budget laws.

In November, she accused Temer of taking a $295,000 bribe she was initially accused of taking. Her lawyers said documents showed the bribe was transferred directly into the general campaign finance fund of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, to which Temer belongs.

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