Brazil police probe BNDES loans to JBS, police say

SAO PAULO, May 12 (Reuters) - Brazil federal police are investigating loans by development bank BNDES to JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processor, a police source told Reuters on Friday.

Police had earlier said they would detain 37 people for questioning and conduct 20 search and seizure warrants as part of a probe into an unnamed meatpacker.

Press representatives for JBS and BNDES did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Starting in June 2007, BNDES subsidiary BNDES Participações SA handed out loans to fund 8.1 billion reais ($2.6 billion) worth of acquisitions of other meatpacking firms, according to a statement. ($1 = 3.14 reais) (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Bruno Federowski)