UPDATE 4-Brazil's BTG Pactual founder wins release, bank's shares jump

jueves 17 de diciembre de 2015 17:27 GYT

* Judge found insufficient evidence to hold Esteves

* Shares in BTG rise 7.6 percent

* Senator remains in detention (Updates share prices in paragraphs 1,9)

By Maria Carolina Marcello and Guillermo Parra-Bernal

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court ordered the release of billionaire financier André Esteves from prison on Thursday, sparking a rise in units of the bank he founded, Grupo BTG Pactual SA, amid hopes it would be spared from a corruption probe.

Justice Teori Zavascki ruled that Esteves could trade prison for house arrest, provided he does not leave the country, after the financier's lawyers argued there was insufficient evidence to hold him in pre-trial detention.

The judge's ruling also banned Esteves from running companies involved in Brazil's largest ever corruption probe, known as "Operation Car Wash." He is currently being held in Bangu VIII prison in Rio de Janeiro.

"Operation Car Wash" is investigating links between ruling coalition politicians and business leaders who traded contracts with state firms for bribes and donations.

Esteves and Senator Delcídio do Amaral, the former head of Brazil's governing coalition in the upper house, were arrested on Nov. 25 on suspicion of obstructing the investigation into corruption at state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.   Continuación...