July 1, 2016 – by Erica Shaffer
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SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Federal law enforcement officers in Brazil searched the headquarters of JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker, as part of a far-reaching corruption investigation. JBS confirmed the search, but said neither the company nor JBS executives were the target of the probe.
In a statement, JBS said “in relation to reports in the press this morning, neither the company nor any of its executives are the target of or are related to the Federal Police operation which occurred this morning in Brazil.”
JBS and several other Brazilian companies are under scrutiny by federal prosecutors as part of a corruption probe called Operation Car Wash. Federal prosecutors are looking into allegations that offshore companies and real estate transactions were used as a front for laundering money from bribes, graft, racketeering and other criminal activities including fraud and collusion.
Joesley Batista, chairman of JBS SA, was indicted earlier this year for allegedly trying to circumvent Brazilian laws prohibiting loans from one financial entity to its owners. Additionally, JBS categorically denied JBS CEO Wesley Batista’s involvement in the alleged criminal activities under investigation in Operation Car Wash. In both cases, JBS categorically denied any wrongdoing by the Batista brothers.
In May, the company announced plans to spin off its international business to create a new company, JBS Foods International, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.