Brazilian Authorities Seize Cash, Cars From “Negative Billionaire” Eike Batista

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Everybody loves a good rags to riches story, but Eike Batista’s story of riches to rags does not look like it’s going to have a happy ending. Brazilian federal authorities raided ex-billionaire Eike Batista’s mansion in Rio de Janeiro on Friday morning, impounding seven vehicles, 90,000 reais in cash and his phone, according to an article in Bloomberg Business.

Earlier this week, Brazilian federal judge Flavio Roberto de Souza ordered the seizures of financial assets of Batista and several of his family members related to his trial for alleged insider trading and market manipulation.

More on “negative billionaire” Batista

The police raid comes as Batista is trying to dig out of the huge debt he owes to banks and the sovereign-wealth fund Mubadala Development.

Analysts note that four of the five firms he founded as part of his EBX group have gone bankrupt, beginning with its flagship OGX (now known as OGPar) in October 2013.

Batista’s fortune peaked at $35 billion in 2012, then his commodities and logistics empire group collapsed, leaving him $1.2 billion in the red, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him an extremely rare “negative billionaire.”

“All he has left now is debt,” commented Marcelo Battisti, a former credit manager at Banco Itau who now heads his own consulting firm. “In normal conditions, becoming a negative billionaire is almost impossible, because most billionaires don’t tend to take on a lot of debt. Do you think Bill Gates has a mortgage?”

Selling everything to pay debts

Batista told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo last September that he was “$1 billion in the red.”

Of notes, sources say that Eike Batista also personally guaranteed at least $1 billion in loans from state development bank BNDES to his various publicly traded companies in 2012. He has already sold shares in MMX, Prumo and  AUX to pay off both banks banks and Mubadala (which converted its equity investment into debt in 2013).

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