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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Once one of Brazil’s richest man, Eike Batista, has been accused of insider trading, a crime punishable with up to thirteen years in jail if found guilty, according to the federal prosecutor’s office in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s Ministério Publico (Federal Prosecutor’s Office) filed a motion asking the courts to freeze R$1.5 billion worth of Batista’s assets.

Eike Batista
Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest man, is now accused of insider trading, photo by Fábio Pozzebom/ABr.

The amount, says federal officials, is approximately what the oil tycoon obtained using privileged information. The assets sought by the federal prosecutor’s office include mansions, apartments, yachts and airplanes.

Batista made his fortune in mining as well as gas and oil extraction, creating one of the largest conglomerates of the mining and oil industry in Brazil, EBX. In 2011, Forbes Magazine listed Batista as the eighth richest man in the world, and the oil magnate boasted he would become even richer than Mexico’s Carlos Slim.

In late 2013, however, his companies started to crumble after the promises of huge oil production in offshore fields were not fulfilled. Stocks from Batista’s oil extraction company, OGX, took a dive and in a single day in October of 2013 OGX shares lost forty percent of its market value at Brazil’s Bovespa Stock Market.

Batista had no other choice than to file for bankruptcy. The action was seen as the largest bankruptcy-protection filing in Latin America in modern times.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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