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SFRC Chairman Menendez, European Legislators Urge Investigation into Brazilian Meatpacking Conglomerate

WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today was joined by United Kingdom House of Commons MP the Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger and European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Chair the Hon. Norbert Lins, MEP, in releasing the below statement following their conversations on Brazilian-owned company JBS, its parent company J&F Investimentos, and its subsidiaries in Europe and the United States. In their meeting, the legislators raised serious concerns regarding JBS’ troubling business practices and disturbing environmental record:

“As legislators from Europe and the United States, we have observed with growing concern the troubling business practices of Brazilian-owned company JBS, its parent company J&F Investimentos (hereafter JBS), and its subsidiaries in Europe and the United States.

“Over the last decade, JBS has gained global notoriety from its involvement in a wide range of criminal activities, having pleaded guilty to 1,500 acts of criminal bribery in its native Brazil, as well as antitrust price-fixing violations. The company has also pleaded guilty to violating the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and has yet to pay billions of dollars in criminal fines in Brazil, all while its founders Wesley and Joesley Batista remain the majority shareholders despite being criminally convicted in Brazil of multiple felony violations.

“Similarly, we remain deeply troubled by JBS’ disturbing environmental record in South America and, by sourcing cattle from farms that have contributed to deforestation, the company’s significant damage to the Amazon rainforest.

“As senior legislators, we are united in calling upon our respective governments’ justice and securities agencies to conduct lawful and coordinated investigations into the business practices of JBS in order to ensure that the company is forced to operate within the expected norms of financial, business and environmental conduct required of all businesses. We also encourage our governments to scrutinize JBS’ antitrust and anticompetitive practices and assess whether the company’s abuses could permanently damage food supply chains.”