SAO PAULO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF SA is negotiating a possible leniency deal with authorities regarding its role in a far-reaching scheme to undermine Brazil’s food inspection system, local newspapers reported on Thursday.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Brazil’s Estado de S. Paulo and Folha de S.Paulo said BRF is currently in talks with the federal prosecutor’s office, known as the MPF, and the federal comptroller-general’s office regarding the investigation, known as “Operation Weak Flesh.”
BRF Chief Executive Pedro Parente has personally negotiated on the company’s behalf with the comptroller, known as the CGU, Estado reported, adding that the talks are in their “initial phase.”
BRF has proposed that as part of the leniency deal, it will detail the system of bribes that it paid out to Ministry of Agriculture officials.
BRF, the MPF, and the CGU all declined to comment to Estado de S. Paulo. BRF declined to comment when contacted by Reuters, while the MPF and the CGU did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to the bribery allegations, which disrupted production and caused the temporary closure of export markets to certain Brazilian meat producers in early 2017, prosecutors are also looking at possible collusion between certain laboratories and BRF.
In September, Reuters exclusively reported that federal prosecutors were seeking leniency talks. (Reporting by Gram Slattery Editing by Paul Simao)