MEDELLIN, Colombia — An owner of the world’s largest meatpackers, with major investments in the U.S., has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to paying more than $150 million in bribes for over a decade to high-level government officials in Brazil.
Sao Paulo-based J&F Investimentos made the plea in a federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday. As part of the settlement agreement, it must pay fines of $256 million to U.S. and Brazilian authorities.
J&F’s legal counsel, Lucio Martins Batista, told the court that bribes paid between 2005 and 2017 helped secure J&F funding from the Brazilian government that was used in part to purchase assets in the U.S.
J&F employs more than 250,000 people in 190 countries, according to its website. It is part owner of the publicly traded JBS, which has been present in the U.S. for more than a decade through acquisitions of meatpackers including Swift & Company and Pilgrim’s Pride.
Joshua Goodman, The Associated Press