SAO PAULO, May 8 (Reuters) - A Brazilian court ordered up to 122 million reais ($55.2 million) in assets held by former billionaire Eike Batista be frozen as part of an investigation into unfair market practices, a local newspaper reported on Thursday.
The court’s move was in response to a request from federal prosecutors, based on a report by Brazil’s securities regulator, O Estado de S.Paulo said. The regulator’s report showed Batista knew some oil fields being explored by OGX Petroleo e Gas SA, which he controlled, were commercially inviable at least nine months before the company made that information public.
OGX, now known as Oleo e Gas Participações SA, saw its share price plummet after the information was announced, and is currently in bankruptcy protection.
The asset freeze was intended as a precautionary measure as the investigation continues, Estado said.
Press representatives for Batista, the federal court of Rio de Janeiro and the federal prosecutor’s office were unable to be reached for comment. ($1 = 2.21 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Asher Levine)