By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A Brazilian judge has included the name of former billionaire businessman, Eike Batista on the Interpol list of wanted criminals, after an arrest warrant was issued for the executive on Thursday. Batista is charged with paying approximately US$16.5 million-worth in bribes to former Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral.
The investigations are part of the mega-corruption Lava Jato (Carwash) scandal that has involved politicians, high-ranking public officials and executives from several sectors of the Brazilian economy.
Batista’s name was included in the Interpol Red Notice list, for criminals who have committed pedophilia, money laundering and terrorism. With the inclusion, the businessman can be arrested abroad, extradited and is considered an international outlaw.
Batista’s lawyer claims that the executive is in New York attending business meetings and will return as soon as possible to cooperate with authorities. Prosecutors believe that Batista left the country on January 24th, with a German passport.
Along with the arrest warrant for Batista and eight others, federal prosecutors also issued four bench warrants and 22 search and seizure warrants in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. In all police confiscated 18 automobiles, including Batista’s white Lamborghini and Porsche Cayenne, works of art, watches, jewelry and approximately US$100,000 in cash.
According to federal prosecutors in addition to depositing illicit money for the former Rio governor, in a foreign account, a portion of the money was used to pay Cabral’s ex-wife, Susana Neves’ personal expenses.
Cabral has been in prison since November 17th, 2016, accused with receiving kickbacks totaling R$220 million, to award public contracts in Rio de Janeiro state. According to the federal police, there is strong evidence that Sergio Cabral was involved in the creation of a cartel to manage and execute large construction venues, including the restoration of Maracanã Stadium, using federal resources.
Named as one of the richest men in the world by Forbes magazine in 2011, Eike Batista’s downfall started in 2014, when in less than a year he lost over 95 percent of his wealth. In 2015, the executive who made his fortune creating one of the largest conglomerates of the mining and oil industry in Brazil, was accused of insider trading, but the case has not yet been tried.