September 14, 2016 / 12:27 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Batistas pledge $465 mln in guarantees to return to Brazil's JBS, J&F

SAO PAULO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Brazilian billionaires Wesley and Joesley Batista agreed on Tuesday to deposit 1.52 billion reais ($465 million) in guarantees to overturn a judge’s decision removing them from the command of meatpacker JBS SA and investment holding company J&F Investimentos SA.

Under terms of the accord, which was signed by the Batistas and federal prosecutors in Brasilia, the brothers will be allowed to return as chief executive officers of both companies. In a statement, the prosecutors also said an asset freeze order on both brothers has been lifted as a result of the accord.

The Batista brothers have until Oct. 21 to deposit the guarantee, which acts as an insurance backed by assets known in Brazil as “seguro garantia,” according to a person with direct knowledge of the accord.

On Sept. 5, the Batistas were ensnared in a sweeping graft probe of state-controlled pension funds focusing on losses to pensioners from reckless or fraudulent investments throughout the Brazilian economy. The situation drove shares of JBS down 6.3 percent last week, their biggest weekly tumble in almost five months.

Shares in São Paulo-based JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacker, gained 1.5 percent to 11.79 reais. The stock is down 29 percent in the past 12 months.

The statement from prosecutors said the value of the guarantee was calculated based on the investments made by state-run pension funds into Eldorado Brasil SA, a pulp producer controlled by the Batistas, and the projected returns on that investment plus inflation.

Prosecutors said they have evidence of overpricing and illicit activity in regards to those investments, according to the statement.

$1 = 3.2690 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Leslie Adler and Andrew Hay

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