SAO PAULO May 31 A former Brazilian cabinet
minister is offering prosecutors evidence of graft involving two
prominent billionaires who allegedly sought help from
politicians to undertake deals during the leftwing Workers Party
administration, two newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Antônio Palocci has decided to cooperate with prosecutors in
exchange for a lighter sentence related to his role in those
crimes, according to the reports in Folha de S. Paulo and Valor
Econômico. He has been under arrest since September 2016.
As part of his plea deal, Palocci is seeking house arrest
for one year, Folha said. In exchange, he offered to give
evidence on deals involving André Esteves, founder of Grupo BTG
Pactual SA, and Abílio Diniz, whose family built a supermarket
empire that he later sold to Casino Ghichard Perrachon SA
In his testimony, Folha reported, Palocci will say the
supermarket tycoon hired his consultancy firm to help win
government support for Diniz's failed attempt to remain in
control of retailer Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição
. Diniz's move irked longtime partner Casino, which
first invested in his family's company in 1999.
Casino became sole controller of Brazil's largest retailer
in June 2012 after signing an agreement in 2005 with Diniz. The
businessman's de facto departure from the retailer was in 2013.
Regarding Esteves, Palocci plans to say how he sought him
out for support on several decrees favoring private banks, Folha
Separately, Valor Econômico reported that Palocci will
implicate Esteves's BTG Pactual, which allegedly obtained unfair
advantage ahead of its acquisition of a stake in Banco Pan
in 2011 after the target received an investment from
Caixa Participações SA, owner of state-run lender Caixa
Econômica Federal, in 2009.
Press representatives for Companhia Brasileira de
Distribuição declined to comment. Abílio Diniz's investment
vehicle Península Participações did not have an immediate
comment. Palocci's legal advisor could not be reached for
BTG Pactual said it did not have any involvement in the 2009
acquisition by CaixaPar of Banco Panamericano, as Banco Pan was
The transaction involving BTG Pactual was made in 2011 with
the target's controller at the time, Grupo Sílvio Santos, BTG
Pactual said in a statement.
Palocci served as finance minister under President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva and chief of staff in the administration of
Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached last year for illegally using
money from state banks to bankroll public spending, marking the
end of 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule.
($1= 3.2570 reais)
(Reporting by Ana Mano and Paula Arend Laier; Editing by