(Adds Safras statement, Bradesco shares)
BRASILIA, July 28 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Bradesco SA, Brazil’s No. 2 private-sector bank, will stand trial for trying to influence a tax appeal board, a court representative said on Thursday.
Prosecutors told a news conference they charged Luiz Carlos Trabuco and three other Bradesco executives with plotting to avoid a three billion reais ($914 million) tax fine.
“The bank agreed to participate in a criminal scheme,” Prosecutor Frederico Paiva said.
Bradesco said in a statement it was convinced nothing illegal had taken place and planned to present its arguments in court in a timely manner.
Prosecutors cannot force Trabuco from his position.
Bradesco shares sank 4.45 percent on Thursday after the bank missed estimates for second-quarter profit and announced a grimmer outlook for loan-loss provisions.
Overall, 10 people have been charged in the case, which is part of a larger operation known as “Zealots” that is investigating kickbacks by companies through lobbyists.
Officials at CARF, a government body that hears appeals on tax disputes, have been accused of soliciting bribes in exchange for favorable settlements.
Prosecutors said the Bradesco charges related to events that took place between July and November of 2014 and that Trabuco knew about all Bradesco’s efforts to influence CARF.
Without citing names, prosecutor Hebert Mesquita said other charges involving financial institutions could be completed in the course of the investigations.
Prosecutors in March charged Joseph Safra, the world’s richest banker, with participating in a plan to bribe CARF officials. The Safra Group said in a statement that no representative had offered inducement to any public official and the Group did not receive any benefit in the CARF judgment. ($1 = 3.28 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Leonardo Goy, writing by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Sandra Maler and Alan Crosby)