(Recasts with details, background)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, April 27 (Reuters) - Billionaire financier André Esteves, who was ousted as head of Brazil’s Grupo BTG Pactual SA in November after his arrest in a spiraling corruption probe, has returned to Latin America’s largest independent investment bank in a senior advisory role.
In a statement, São Paulo-based BTG Pactual said Esteves, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, will take on a senior partner role, with a focus on strategic issues and development of the bank’s operations and activities.
The return of BTG Pactual’s former chief executive officer comes just days after a Supreme Court justice freed him following four months of house arrest.
The composition of the holding company that has controled the bank since Esteves left will not change, the statement said. Senior partners Persio Arida replaced him as chairman at the time, with fellow partners Roberto Sallouti and Marcelo Kalim taking over as co-chief executives.
The 47-year-old banker, who is BTG Pactual’s largest single shareholder, addressed employees in a conference room at BTG Pactual’s headquarters in São Paulo on Tuesday.
His Nov. 25 arrest came after prosecutors accused him of obstructing justice and trying to silence a witness in the massive Brazilian corruption scandal known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Esteves was stripped off his executive duties at BTG Pactual and removed from control of the São Paulo-based lender after prosecutors detained him. Until then, BTG Pactual’s fortunes had been closely tied to Esteves, Brazil’s most prominent dealmaker in the past decade.
The arrest of Esteves, who owns about 28 percent of BTG Pactual and who had steered the bank through Brazil’s deepest recession in decades, sent the lender’s shares and bonds into a tailspin and forced the bank to sell assets to bolster client confidence.
Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown