Eike Batista, once one of Brazil’s wealthiest businessmen who was exposed in Brazil’s ongoing Federal criminal investigation named Lava Jato or Operation Car Wash, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for paying $16.5 million worth in bribes to Sérgio Cabral, former governor of Rio de Janeiro, in exchange for public contracts. Cabral has also been charged and sentenced in multiple corruption and money laundering cases bringing his total prison sentence to more than 120 years.
Batista, who accumulated his fortune in the oil and gold mining industry, often expressed his wishes to help improve his hometown of Rio de Janeiro and has donated cars to the police, cleaned the lake which would be used in the 2016 Olympic games, and helped fund the renovation of a well known hotel. However, in 2013 Batista’s fortune declined when his oil company, EBX Corporation, filed for bankruptcy when oil production wasn’t meeting commitments, forcing investors to pull out. His fortune declined further when Brazil entered a recession in 2014 and investigators uncovered many kickback schemes that were hurting the economy.
Batista was charged in January 2017 with money laundering and corruption while he was in the US, but voluntarily returned to Brazil in order to “respond to the justice system.” While Batista was held in prison for three months as he awaited trial, the Supreme Court ruled that he could remain free as the case progressed.
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