Billionaire Batista brothers reinstated to JBS board

By Staff
2 Min Read

Billionaires Joesley and Wesley Batista were reinstated to JBS’ board of directors in a shareholder vote on Friday, marking a corporate comeback for the brothers following a major bribery scandal.

In a shareholder vote, each brother received approximately 1.24 billion shares in favor of the appointment. Nearly 247 million shares rejected the appointment, and close to 465,000 abstained. The Batista-owned holding company J&F Investimentos has a controlling stake in JBS, with 1.08 billion shares.

The Batistas’ return to the board of the world’s largest meat processor comes after serving brief prison stints in 2017 for their involvement in a massive corruption graft. Their comeback has been largely unchallenged in Brazil — earlier this month, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lauded the brothers’ success during a visit to a JBS factory.

“This family is predestined for success,” Lula said during the event, which marked the first shipment of meat to China under a new export agreement, according to Bloomberg. “Joesley and Wesley are responsible for this company becoming the largest animal protein company in the world. This is a source of pride for me.”

In the U.S., the Batistas’ return to power has raised alarm bells among corporate accountability groups and climate activists, who have mobilized to prevent JBS from listing shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Activists say an initial public offering would empower the company to violate financial regulations and perpetuate climate-destructive practices.

Kimberly Spell, executive director of the advocacy group Ban the Batistas, said the number of minority shareholders voting against the brothers is “a powerful indictment.”

“A majority of shares not cast by the Batistas either rejected or did not support their election,” Spell said in a statement. “It’s now the SEC’s turn to reject the Batistas and say no to their IPO.”

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