JBS SA parent pleads guilty to US foreign corruption violations

JBS SA parent pleads guilty to US foreign corruption violations

By Anna Flávia Rochas on 10/15/2020

J&F Investimentos and subsidiary JBS SA have agreed to pay fines to end legal exposure tied to a corruption scandal in Brazil revealed in 2017, according to a company statement Wednesday.

J&F Investimentos pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. J&F was fined $256.5 million but will have to pay only $128.3 million, because it will receive credit for fines paid to Brazilian authorities. JBS is not a party to the J&F plea agreement and will not bear any liabilities arising from it.

In a separate agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, JBS SA will pay a $26.87 million fine related to conduct violating U.S. securities laws resulting in Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. failing to maintain accurate records and internal accounting controls.

JBS is also required, for a period of three years, to review, evaluate and report to the SEC on the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies, practices, internal accounting controls, recordkeeping and financing reporting processes for the company and issuers of securities in the U.S. under JBS’ direct or indirect control. Pilgrim’s is not a party to this agreement and won’t bear any liabilities arising from it.

JBS said the agreements represent an important step in continuous efforts to improve compliance and corporate governance programs.

Brazilian corruption investigation Operation Car Wash revealed in 2017 that JBS controllers and executives had bribed officials in the country over the years in a scheme implicating about 1,900 politicians.