The parent company of Brazilian meat giant JBS has settled a bribery suit in the US by agreeing to pay fines totalling more than US$150m to the country’s Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

J&F Investimentos will pay $128.25m in criminal fines to the DoJ and another $27m to the SEC after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the Eastern District of New York. 

The DoJ fine is half of the $256.5m it imposed as J&F has received a 50% credit to take into account the hefty settlement made with Brazilian authorities three years ago for its role in corruption scandals in its home country.

In a statement, JBS said it had been told by its parent the violations of US law “stem from the same facts and conduct that were the subject of the leniency agreement entered into between J&F and the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor (Ministério Público Federal) and the collaboration agreements entered into between Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista with the Brazilian Office of the Prosecutor General (Procuradoria Geral da República)”.

The brothers [members of the Batista family that controlled JBS] were arrested in 2017 on obstruction of justice and insider trading charges. They were released in 2018.

In relation to the US fines, news agency Reuters reported that a US charging document said that between 2005 and 2017 the company conspired to bribe officials to secure financing and “equity transactions” from state-controlled banks BNDES and Caixa Economica Federal, as well as Petros, the pension fund for employees of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras.

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By GlobalData

The bribes J&F executives paid to high-level government officials exceeded $150m, US prosecutors said.

Yesterday (14 October), US meat firm Pilgrim’s Pride, in which JBS has a majority stake, agreed to pay a $110.5m fine after striking a plea deal with the DoJ over broiler chicken price-fixing charges.