U.S. investigators question shareholders of Brazil’s JBS

Brasilia | Reuters –– U.S. investigators this week visited Brazil to question shareholders of J+F Investimentos, the holding company that controls meatpacker JBS SA, as part of an existing plea deal, Brazilian prosecutors said on Friday in a statement.

U.S. authorities have been investigating the companies controlled by J+F since their largest shareholders — brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista — admitted to bribing politicians and Brazilian officials to obtain benefits for their businesses.

Brazil’s federal prosecutor’s office said on Friday that an agreement between authorities from both countries was signed and added to the plea deal J+F closed with Brazilian prosecutors to allow for U.S. authorities to come and talk to the shareholders.

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It is not clear yet what part of the businesses owned by J+F in the United States is being targeted by U.S. authorities.

J+F declined to comment.

A large part of JBS’s operations are based in the U.S., where the company already controls Pilgrims Pride Corp. and has plans to do an initial public offering of shares of its JBS USA arm.

Among the operations which would be included in a JBS USA IPO is the company’s Brooks, Alta. beef packing plant, one of Canada’s largest, with capacity to process up to 4,200 head of cattle per day.

— Reporting for Reuters by Ricardo Brito.

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