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SAO PAULO, May 18 (Reuters) - JBS SA's controlling shareholders sold shares in the meatpacker worth 329 million reais ($98 million) in April, according to regulatory filings, after JBS's chairman and CEO had secretly begun negotiating a plea-bargain deal with government prosecutors.
Testimony by Joesley and Wesley Batista about Brazil's president condoning the payment of bribes as part of that deal roiled Brazilian financial markets on Thursday, sending JBS shares 9.7 percent lower.
The shareholders that sold the JBS stock are among the vehicles through which the billionaire Batista brothers control the meatpacker, the world's largest.
JBS declined to comment, while J&F Investimentos, the Batistas main holding company, did not respond to a request for comment. Brazilian market regulator CVM did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
$1 = 3.37 reais Reporting By Bruno Federowski and Tatiana Bautzer; Writing by Christian Plumb; Editing by Brad Haynes and Sandra Maler