Police in Brazil have seized former billionaire Eike Batista’s yacht, jet skis, and other watercraft in the latest round of asset seizure by Brazilian authorities.
Eike’s Rio de Janeiro mansion was raided within the last five days after Brazilian federal judge Flavio Roberto de Souza ordered the seizure of all of his financial assets in the country.
The 58-year-old Batista is currently on trial for alleged insider trading and market manipulation. He faces a total of six counts of financial crimes, which include criminal conspiracy, misleading investors, false representation, market manipulation, and two counts of insider trading.
He faces a minimum of six years if convicted on all six counts. If he is found guilty, he would become the first person in the country’s history to be locked up for such crimes.
Mr. Batista has denied any wrongdoing.
Aurelio Valporto from Brazil’s National Association for the Protection of Minority Shareholders, who has been summoned as a witness in the trial, said that the decision marks what FT reported that he had called “an important step” towards bringing about an end to “this sensation of impunity for the swindlers” perpetrating crimes within the country’s financial markets.
“The decision is an important step towards ending this sensation of impunity for the swindlers who act in the Brazilian financial markets and for our country to have more efficient capital markets capable of contributing to economic growth.”
His second hearing, scheduled in late December, has been suspended by Judge Souza in order to allow for adequate time to update the case with similar accusations filed by Sao Paulo prosecutors.
Souza indicated that he hopes a verdict will be reached within the first half of the year.
Public prosecutors in Brazil allege Batista, who is struggling to pay down debts the sovereign-wealth fund Mubadala Development Co. and banks he’s indebted to, used Twitter to boost the share price of his oil company OGX back in 2013 by encouraging his followers on the social network to invest in the company while he was secretly selling his own shares. The company’s bankruptcy filing just five months after triggered the largest corporate default in Latin America, with the collapse of his oil and mining empire and more than $30 billion wiped from Brazil’s stock market.
His two sons, Thor and Olin, who were named after Nordic gods, were amongst those named in court documents for asset seizure in light of their having benefit from Batista’s gifts. Also included were his ex-wife, Luma de Oliveira, and his girlfriend, Flavia Sampaio, who is also his lawyer and the mother of his third son. The judge indicated that the current and former members of the Batista clan had benefited from the gifts given by the former billionaire.
In light of the criminal charges brought against the first negative billionaire, the judge ordered the seizure of real estate worth more than $542 million, seven vehicles, his mobile phone, a boat called Spirit of Brazil and other watercraft, 90,000 in local currency (reais), airplanes, and other assets.
Federal police published a photo of Eike’s Lamborghini being hauled away on their website. Four of the startups he founded as part of the EBX group have gone bankrupt. They include the flagship OGPar (previously OGX), shipbuilder OSX, miner MMX, and energy firm Eneva (MPX).
At his peak in 2012, he was worth $35 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Donald Trump previously boasted a net worth of “minus $900 million” back in the 1990s.
Eike Batista used to be the eighth richest person in the world, but now Bloomberg Business reports he’s worth negative $1.2 billion. Do you think he’ll bounce back or will these allegations of financial crimes cripple his once flourishing empire?