Eike Batista: when money and corruption come together

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The Brazilian billionaire is in jail and must now pay a $134 million fine for the crimes of active corruption and money laundering

Eike Batista arrested by the Brazilian police in 2018

Just a few years ago, Eike Batista was recognized by a whole generation of entrepreneurs as a businessman who built a fortune through business related to gold and oil mining in Brazil. Now, his reputation has plummeted. As part of the operation "Lava Jato", which condemned the ex-presidents Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer, Batista was found guilty of active corruption and money laundering. How was the rise and fall of who was once the richest man in Brazil?

Leer en español: Eike Batista: cuando los millones y la corrupción se juntan

A fortune from mining

After attending the University of Aachen in Germany, the Brazilian was dedicated to selling insurance policies from door to door. However, after learning about the gold boom in his country, he invested, with a loan, in the purchase of his first gold mine in Brazil, which left him with his first million dollars, according to the BBC.

With partnerships and strategic contacts, for 2000, the businessman was already recognized for having built his so-called "X" Empire. By 2012, he was already the seventh richest person in the world, according to the list published for this year by Forbes magazine.

With a fortune that exceeded 30,000 million dollars, Batista expanded its mining, oil and raw material business to neighboring countries of Brazil, for which it achieved successful partnerships with large multinationals such as Rio Tinto.

The beginning of the end

In 2013, due to the international oil crisis and mismanagement, the "X" Empire reflected a significant financial decline. To this crisis should also be added that oil wells did not produce what was expected and projects under construction had significant delays. Thus, instead of generating large projected profits, it became an economic loss. From that moment, Eike Batista sold most of its companies, real estate and luxury goods.

In the hands of the law

The fall of Batista materialized in 2016 when he took refuge abroad and was declared a fugitive by the authorities. With the operation "Lava Jato", the operational intelligence of Brazil revealed one of the most sensitive cases of corruption in the country, where it is described that Batista used his contacts in the public sector to be favored in the bids of that sector.

After these findings, Batista surrendered to the hands of justice and after a few hours, according to the BBC, he was already sharing a cell with other common criminals. This is because he was not granted the right to a special cell because he did not complete his university studies.

Also read: How good is the relationship between Carlos Slim and AMLO?

However, the carioca remained only a few months in jail in Rio de Janeiro. The sentence issued by federal judge Marcelo Bretas determined that the former magnate had to serve a sentence of 30 years in house arrest and had to comply with a sanction of 53 million reais (approximately 134 million dollars).

According to Bretas, "his crimes caused deep scars in the confidence of investors and entrepreneurs who, in the recent past, saw Brazil as a good investment option". This, after dictating the sentence to Batista for the crimes of active corruption and money laundering.

The reinvention

Despite being under house arrest, businessman Eike Batista has made an attempt to reinvent his business model after bankruptcy, a judicial process and evidence of corruption in the environment of his former companies.

Currently, he acts as a consultant and as a YouTuber, obtaining more than 125,000 followers in the last year. Within his channel, he shares with his audience the business trends, the strategic investments and the so-called "unicorns", from which he sees innovative ideas that can bring exponential profits.


LatinAmerican Post | Alejandra Caballero

Translated from "Eike Batista: cuando los millones y la corrupción se juntan"

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