(Adds JBS treasury buying shares, plea bargain, CVM statement,
By Bruno Federowski and Tatiana Bautzer
SAO PAULO May 18 JBS SA's
controlling shareholders sold shares in the meatpacker worth 329
million reais ($98 million) in April, according to securities
filings, after JBS's top two executives had secretly begun
negotiating a plea-bargain deal with prosecutors.
Testimony by Chairman Joesley Batista and his brother, Chief
Executive Wesley Batista, about Brazil President Michel Temer
allegedly 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 from April 20-28
are among the vehicles through which the billionaire Batista
brothers control the meatpacker, the world's largest.
JBS's corporate treasury acquired 200 million reais in stock
from April 24-27. Neither the JBS treasury nor the company's
controlling shareholders had bought or sold shares over the
prior year before April, according to the filings last week.
The share sales, originally reported by news website Brazil
Journal on Thursday, represented 2.6 pct of stock held by JBS's
controlling shareholders at the beginning of April.
JBS declined to comment. 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
Earlier on Thursday, CVM said it was analyzing "facts
related to the corruption probe ... involving listed companies."
The JBS chairman recorded a conversation in which he and
Temer allegedly discussed making illegal payments to jailed
former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha to keep him from testifying
about corruption in March, according to a source familiar with
the matter. Later that month the brothers started negotiating
the plea bargain deal in the same month, the source said.
($1 = 3.37 reais)
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Tatiana Bautzer; Additional
reporting by Brad Brooks; Writing by Christian Plumb; Editing by
Brad Haynes and Sandra Maler)