SAO PAULO Brazil's securities watchdog CVM has launched an investigation into JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), the meatpacking company involved in a corruption probe that implicated Brazil's president and rattled its financial markets this week, according to the CVM website.
CVM did not specify the exact nature of its investigations into the world's largest meat processor in the notice posted online on Thursday.
But the news followed reports that controlling shareholders had sold JBS stock and bought dollars, as Chairman Joesley Batista and six other executives engaged in plea-bargain talks that affected the value of JBS shares and the Brazilian real.
Reuters reported on Thursday that controlling shareholders sold 329 million reais worth of shares in April, after top JBS executives had secretly begun negotiating a plea-bargain deal with prosecutors probing numerous corruption scandals in Latin America's biggest country.
Audio recordings, provided by Batista to police and publicly disclosed this week, implicated President Michel Temer in one of a string of corruption scandals that has engulfed vast swaths of Brazil’s political class and business elites for more than three years.
Additional JBS testimony disclosed on Friday accused Temer and former Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff of accepting bribes. All three have denied wrongdoing.
Temer, a conservative, was sworn into office in September last year following the ouster of leftist Rousseff.
Brazil's Valor Economico newspaper reported on Thursday that CVM was investigating the currency and stock trades at JBS after it learned that the Batista companies had reportedly acquired over $1 billion in currency markets just before the plea news broke, sending the dollar surging against the real.
CVM regulators had previously launched four other probes into the JBS -- in early May, late March and February. JBS did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment into the CVM probes.
(Reporting by Alberto Alerigi; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Tom Brown)