Former Richest Man in Brazil, Eike Batista, Sentenced To 30 Years in Prison for Corruption
The former richest man in Brazil and formerly one of the top ten richest men in the world, Eike Batista, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Batista, who made his wealth from mining and oil production, was convicted of bribery and corruption. He was charged for bribing former Rio de Janeiro’s Governor Sergio Cabral to the tune of $16.5 million for state contracts, Reuters wrote.
This is the sixth time that Cabral has been convicted for corruption charges and he is already serving a 120-year prison term.
Eike Batista’s Fall From Grace Was As Dramatic As His Meteoric Rise
Brazil has been under the siege of corrupt politicians and powerful businessmen for decades, with anti-graft agencies sending many of them to prison. According to court filings, Batista formed large conglomerates that spanned the energy, mineral and logistics businesses. The problem, however, is that Batista’s wealth was highly susceptible to the commodities market. His wealth rose as the prices of commodities rose in Brazil, and fell when the value of commodities declined in the nation.
Brazil then fell into one of the worst recessions on record, devastating Batista’s wealth and making his fall from grace as dramatic as his meteoric rise.
Convicted together with Cabral, the 61-year-old Batista was accused of offering a bribe to win several state contracts and was convicted of bribing Cabral with $16.5 million. In one such example, his company was given the rights to manage the Maracana stadium in Rio, where the World Cup final was played in 2014, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games were held. Additionally, Batista was also accused of bribing his way through constructing the Acu port facility for $3.7 billion.
According to state witnesses and prosecutors, Batista gave part of the bribes to Cabral in cash and the rest as shares in his companies. The shares were given in Petroleo Brasileiro SA, miner Vale SA and drinks company Ambev SA, all state-owned companies. In 2017, Batista was penalized $5.4 million for making trades on shipbuilding company OSX Brasil in response to insider information.
Eike Batista Was One of the Richest People on Earth in 2012
In 2012, Batista was rated by Forbes as one of the ten richest people in the world with a net worth above $30 billion. It was also estimated at the time that he would soon become the richest man on earth at the rate he was amassing wealth. This was when he was head of EBX, a large corporation that dealt in oil, shipping, entertainment and beauty care among other things.
Batista was notorious for his “swashbuckling attitude” and “confident forecasts of a prolonged golden era for Brazil” as Reuters described him. However, the Brazilian economic collapse and his penchant for back-alley dealings caught up to him.
With the prison sentencing by federal judge Marcelo Bretas, Batista’s legal team has sworn to appeal the sentencing.