By Nancy Caouette
Federal police in Brazil on Wednesday arrested the head of the JBS meatpacking giant amid allegations of insider trading.
The arrest of Wesley Batista in Sao Paulo followed the detention Sunday of his brother, Joesley, former chairman of the company that is the world’s largest meatpacker.
Wesley Batista is accused of unfairly profiting from trades in shares of JBS and U.S. dollars in April and May, before company stock and the Brazilian currency plunged following revelations Joesley Wesley and Brazilian President Michel Temer discussed bribes.
In the warrant issued Wednesday, federal judge Joao Batista Goncalves said the brothers "would not have avoided using the exponential influence they had to serve their own interests."
Goncalves accused the pair of blackmailing public officials and corrupting more than 1,000 politicians.
Joesley Batista touched off a political crisis last March after secretly recording President Michel Temer allegedly discussing payment of hush money to buy the silence of an imprisoned former ally.
The recording and testimonies by the brothers are now key parts of the investigation of a scandal that implicated Temer.
In return for their testimonies, the Batistas entered a plea bargain deal with authorities.
But the leniency deal was revoked Sunday after new recordings suggested Joesley Batista may have withheld information from prosecutors.
A lawyer of the brothers, Pierpaolo Cruz Bottini, accused authorities of retaliating against his clients.
"The Brazilian State uses all means to promote revenge against those who collaborate with the Justice," Bottini said in a statement.