By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former Brazilian billionaire, Eike Batista, handed himself over to authorities on Monday, after arriving in Rio de Janeiro’s International Airport. Batista had been in New York when his arrest warrant was issued, and returned on his own recognizance.
He now is in a small cell with four other inmates, accused of being part of a money laundering in the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal.
“I am at the disposal of the justice system. As a Brazilian, I am fulfilling my duty, I am returning,” said Batista to GloboTV before boarding the Rio-bound flight on Sunday.
According to the man who once considered the richest man in Brazil, federal prosecutors are doing ‘a fantastic’ job in cleaning up the country corruption.
Now Eike Batista sits in a 15 sq. meter cell, with four others inmates, no hot water, and a hole to be used as the toilet, according to local news reports. The businessman was initially sent to Ary Franco prison and, after two hours, transferred to the penitentiary Bandeira Stampa (Bangu 9), in the complex of Bangu.
His lawyer, Fernando Martins, told reporters outside the prison on Monday that he had not yet spoken to Batista after he arrived in Brazil, and could only speculate if his client would be corroborating with authorities.
“Yesterday [Sunday], he gave an interview stating he would ‘come clean’. I understood from that interview that he would provide the necessary explanations. We will now set our defense together,” said Martins.
Batista and his right-hand man, Flávio Godinho, are accused of paying US$16.5 million to former Rio governor Sergio Cabral in exchange for benefits in the group’s works and businesses.
Cabral has been in jail since last year charged with receiving bribes for construction work contracts for the 2014 World Cup.