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SAO PAULO, June 14 (Reuters) - JBS SA, whose controlling shareholder recently agreed to pay the world’s largest leniency fine ever, has hired lawyer Marcelo Proença to become global head of compliance, as the world’s biggest meatpacker seeks to turn the page on a massive corruption scandal.
In a Wednesday securities filing, JBS said Proença will structure and monitor compliance procedures across JBS inside and outside the company. The newly-created division will report directly to the board, in order to ensure “the best possible corporate governance practices,” the filing added.
Law firm White & Case LLC was hired to help provide support for Proença and oversee the creation of JBS’s compliance unit, the filing said. Proença has a bachelor and PhD degrees in law and has 27 years experience, especially in corporate and commercial law.
Last month, Brazil’s billionaire Batista family - which owns over 40 percent of JBS through investment holding company J&F Investimentos SA - agreed to pay a record-setting 10.3 billion real ($3.1 billion) fine related to corruption and bribery allegations.
The move is akin to one that engineering conglomerate Odebrecht SA took in the wake of a similar accord linked to a corruption probe. Brazil’s law orders companies to revamp their compliance rules and corporate governance codes to approve a leniency deal and shelter them and their executives from future prosecution.
JBS shares rose as much as 0.6 percent to 6.85 reais in early Wednesday trading, paring back year-to-date losses to 40 percent. The stock has shed 37 percent since May 16, when Brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista admitted in separate plea deals to bribing nearly 1,900 politicians in recent years.
State loans helped fuel growth at J&F over the past decade, enabling it to assert control of JBS while expanding into fashion, dairy production, pulp processing and banking. JBS grew from a mid-sized slaughterhouse in Brazil’s Midwest into one of the world’s top-three food processing companies in over a decade through acquisitions partially funded with government funding.
Part of the testimonies in the plea deal implicated President Michel Temer, whom Joesley accused of working to obstruct a major corruption probe. Temer denies the accusations.
$1 = 3.3114 reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernard Orr