One of Brazil’s most successful businessmen Eike Batista starts trial next month on November 18th. The trial is for criminal charges. He allegedly defrauded investors in his oil company.
Eike Batista’s trial set to start soon
On Monday, a judge from Rio de Janeiro scheduled the trial to start in mid-November. This comes after the judge rejected Batista’s preliminary defense. In September, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against the oil magnate. Officials even accused him of manipulating financial markets while taking advantage of special information to sell oil company shares before stock prices plunged.
According to the judge, if Batista is convicted, he could face up to 12 years in prison. The judge also claimed Batista’s lawyers did not bring the evidence that could lead to a summary dismissal. Federal officials also threw accusations that Batista was manipulating financial markets with the claim he was ready to invest up to $1 billion to hold up his oil company, but he never put in the investment. He was also accused of making illegal insider trade moves on at least two occasions last year during share sales.
One of the oil magnate’s lawyers, Sergio Bermudes claimed allegations against his client would eventually prove false. Neither Bermudes nor his client returned calls or messages on Monday.
Eike Batista’s financial downfall
Eike Batista rose the ranks of success thanks to the startup companies he created. He raised billions of dollars in capital markets, by 2012 his financial worth reached over $30 billion. Thanks to multiple financial and operational failures, his debts are now $1 billion over his assets.
OGX was central to Batista’s failures. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2013 after it failed to produce any of the 10.8 billion barrels it owned. This decline sent shares tumbling down and cleared out most his wealth. Just last month, prosecutors ordered a freeze on Batista’s assets to cover legal costs if he is found guilty. Nearly $50 million of his financial assets were frozen from his bank accounts. Now Batista claims he is broke. The judge, however, says Batista has a yearly income of nearly $5 million from services at EBX holding company.
Prosecutors believe it was his missteps that caused the loss of billions of dollars to investors who had faith in his projects in the oil, mining, logistics, among other sectors. Judge de Souza added, “This case has hit the credibility of our institutions as well as investors who lost money…and we are not talking about cents here, we are talking about billions.”
Trials for business-relared crimes like Batista’s are rather unusual in Brazil.