| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Feb 10 Federal prosecutors on Friday
leveled corruption charges against Eike Batista, Brazil's
one-time richest man, along with a ex-Rio de Janeiro governor
who allegedly took millions in bribes from the former
billionaire, one of his nation's most boisterous backers amid a
now busted commodities boom.
Seven others were also charged for helping facilitate the
alleged graft, and hiding the money by creating offshore shell
firms for Batista, 60, who five years ago had a net worth
exceeding $30 billion and was considered one of the world's 10
Batista has been jailed since Jan. 30 when he voluntarily
returned to Rio from New York after four days as a fugitive.
In an emailed statement, prosecutors said the money was paid
to ex-Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral so that Batista's
enterprises would win lucrative government contracts.
Those included Batista being part of the consortium that ran
the Maracana stadium that hosted the 2014 World Cup final match
and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, along
with the construction of the $3.7 billion Port of Açu, since
2013 controlled by Prumo Logistica, which is 74-percent owned by
Washington, D.C.-based EIG Energy Partners.
Prosecutors allege Batista paid Cabral $16.5 million in 2011
- about one-fourth in cash and the rest in stocks in state-run
oil company Petrobras, the miner Vale and
beverage company Ambev, now known as AB InBev.
Prosecutors also charged Cabral's wife, the lawyer Adriana
Ancelmo, for receiving 1 million reais ($320,821) from Batista
for legal services they say were never offered.
"It is clear that a set of actions carried out by the public
agent in question are related to the interests of the private
individual," the prosecutor's statement said in reference to
Cabral and Batista.
It will now be up to a federal judge in Rio to determine if
those accused on Friday will stand trial. It is not clear when
that ruling may occur.
The oil companies OGX Petroleo e Gas SA and Oleo
e Gas Participações SA and mining company MMX
, which were founded by Batista, have said he no
longer held administrative roles, and his legal woes would have
no impact on them.
Cabral and his wife are already facing a separate trial on
graft charges before Brazil's crusading anti-corruption judge
Sergio Moro, a trial set to open next month.
In that case, Cabral is accused of leading a "criminal
organization" that took 224 million reais in bribes from
construction firms in exchange for infrastructure contracts from
2007 to 2014, when he was serving as governor.
($1 = 3.1164 reais)
(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Marguerita Choy)