Brazil police raid pulpmaker controlled by billionaire Batista family – Metro US

Brazil police raid pulpmaker controlled by billionaire Batista family

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian police on Friday raided offices of pulpmaker Eldorado Celulose controlled by the billionaire Batista family, a company spokesman said, in the latest stage of the country’s biggest-ever corruption investigation.

Brazilian media had reported that police targeted JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker which is also controlled by the Batistas. JBS said neither the company nor its executives were targeted in Friday’s police operation.

As part of the raid on Eldorado Celulose, police served one arrest warrant and conducted search-and-seizure operations at 19 locations in four states, prosecutors said in a statement, without giving details about the operation.

“Eldorado has always acted in a transparent way and all its activities have been conducted according to the law,” the company said in a statement, adding that it had fully complied with authorities’ requests for information.

Brazilian media said an arrest warrant was issued against lobbyist Lucio Funaro, but representatives for the police or Funaro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Batista family, through holding J&F Investimentos SA, has stakes in pulp, agribusiness, cosmetics, home cleaning products and finance. Batista is a relatively common surname in Brazil, and the family has no relation to fallen commodities tycoon Eike Batista.

Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles chaired J&F’s board until this year, but said in a radio interview on Friday that he no longer had any links to the company.

Dozens of executives and politicians have been jailed in the two-year probe over price-fixing and corruption at state-run firms, especially oil producer Petrobras. The political mayhem from the scandal helped topple President Dilma Rousseff and ministers in the interim administration of President Michel Temer.

(Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Jeffrey Benkoe)