When caught behind the wheel, a judge in Brazil claims he was “reparking” Eike Batista’s Porsche
There’s a bizarre twist in the insider-trading trial of Brazilian ex-billionaire Eike Batista as the judge in charge of his case was photographed driving a Porsche SUV that had been seized from Batista. The vehicle is one of six luxury cars that Brazilian authorities seized last week, along with a yacht, jewelry, valuable art and other property belonging to Batista and his family. Of note, the court has also seized real estate and investments belonging to Batista and after freezing his bank accounts in 2014.
Porsche controversy in Eike Batista case
Batista is accused in Brazil of insider trading and stock market manipulation related to his bankrupt oil firm OGX.
Early Tuesday, a Brazilian newspaper released footage of the judge in charge of Batista’s trial driving one of Batista’s cars (a Porsche Cayenne Turbo) in Rio de Janeiro.
Of note, de Souza acknowledged to local media that he had been driving the car, but claimed he was only moving it from the outdoor police parking lot to his own building’s garage, which is indoors, to ensure that the car is not exposed to the sun and weather.
de Souza also claimed he had let the local Department of Motor Vehicles know that he would be driving the car, and denied any impropriety in his actions.
However, late Tuesday the Rio de Janeiro federal court system announced it was opening an inquiry into de Souza’s driving of the car.
Batista’s defense team already filed to remove Judge de Souza
Before this whole Porsche brouhaha kicked up, attorneys for Batista had already requested that Judge de Souza be removed from the Eike Batista case. They argue that statements made by the judge over the last few months show that he is not impartial. de Souza has publicly called Batista “megalomaniacal.”
According to an article in the New York Times, legal experts say de Souza will likely be dismissed from the Eike Batista case as two of the three appeals court judges who are due to make the decision have already indicated they will vote to remove him.
The case will move forward with another judge if the judge is removed, and another insider trading case against Batista is also pending, this one involving another firm he established named OSX.