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U.S. Department of Treasury Urged to Investigate JBS SA

10/16/2019

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Mendez (D-NJ) have addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin requesting an inquiry into purchase of U.S. meat processing companies by JBS SA.

It is a matter of record that JBS SA of Brazil controlled by family-held J and F Investimentos used bribery to acquire sweetheart loans from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and various pension funds. Proceeds were used to purchase U.S., Latin American and E.U. meat and poultry production companies.

The two senators also allege that the group has financial involvement with the Maduro Government of Venezuela contrary to U.S. sanctions regulations and is also partly financed from entities allied to the Government of China.

In 2017, J and F Investimentos reached a settlement with the Government of Brazil involving a fine of $3.2 billion. The principal officers of JBS S.A., Joesley and Wesley Batista relinquished their management involvement in the Group.

The letter addressed to the Treasury Secretary noted “We are troubled that JBS S.A. used financing that it received from BNDES totaling more than $1.3 billion to acquire American companies in contravention of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

U.S. businesses acquired in the U.S. include Swift and Co in 2007; the beef operations of Smithfield Foods in 2008; Pilgrim’s Pride (75% equity ownership) in 2009; XL Foods in 2012 and the pork operations of Cargill Inc. in 2015.  

In 2018 JBS S.A. planned a U.S. IPO for meat businesses to be consolidated as JBS Foods International BV. Following the scandal in Brazil the intended IPO was withdrawn as inopportune.  

JBS S. A. businesses have encountered problems with compliance with employment regulations, food safety, transport regulations and deceptive practices contrary to GIPSA rules.