March 18, 2020 / 9:14 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-'Misled' shareholders in Brazil's JBS seek $270 mln damages

(Adds JBS comment)

SAO PAULO, March 18 (Reuters) - A group of shareholders in JBS SA has started arbitration proceedings against the Brazilian beef company, claiming they were misled after the company’s IPO in Brazil in 2007.

In a statement on Wednesday, U.S.-based law firm DRRT, along with Brazilian co-counsel Finkelstein Advogados, said the shareholders are seeking damages of 1.4 billion reais ($271 million) against JBS.

The plaintiffs allege JBS and its executives released false and/or misleading information to investors after going public. They said the company had become the world’s largest meat-packer based on “bribery and corruption.”

They said they had requested arbitration on behalf of 95 former and current institutional shareholders at the arbitration chamber of Brazil’s stock exchange, B3 SA Brasil Bolsa Balcao .

JBS declined to comment as arbitration proceedings are confidential.

The arbitration suit is the latest legal blow to JBS, whose owners signed a plea deal with Brazilian prosecutors in 2017 confessing to making illegal payments to scores of politicians to advance their business interests.

The plea deal related to a then three-year old graft probe that shocked Brazil’s political and business establishment.

In February, Reuters reported that JBS would proceed with its plans to list its international operations in the United States, but without raising new money from investors.

$1 = 5.1609 reais Reporting by Ana Mano; editing by Nick Macfie and Rosalba O'Brien

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