October 19, 2017 / 3:38 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil court unfreezes $504 mln belonging to owners of meatpacker JBS

 (Adds context on criminal investigation, Wednesday's asset
freeze, changes headline)
    BRASÍLIA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal appeals
court on Thursday granted an injunction releasing assets
belonging to the Batista brothers, owners of the world's largest
meatpacker JBS SA           , Ticiano Figueiredo, a lawyer
representing the defendants, said.
    A spokeswoman at the appeals court did not immediately reply
to a request for comment. 
    On Oct. 6, a federal judge blocked 1.6 billion reais ($504
million) belonging to 21 people and companies linked to J&F
Investimentos, the holding company of the Batista family.
            . The asset freeze was meant to cover potential
losses stemming from financial operations between the companies
of the group and the development bank BNDES, which are being
    Prosecutors suspect irregularities regarding the approval
and disbursement of loans worth billions of reais from the
state-owned BNDES to the companies owned by the Batistas.   
State loans helped fuel growth at J&F Investimentos over the
past decade, enabling it to expand beyond meatpacking into
fashion, pulp processing and banking.             
    JBS, of which BNDES is a shareholder through BNDESPar,
denies it received favorable treatment from the state bank.
    On Wednesday, JBS shut down seven of 36 slaughterhouses in
Brazil after a lower court froze 730 million reais in connection
with a tax probe in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.            
    The meatpacker said the asset freeze brought "legal
insecurity" to its operations in the state, adding the plants
there would stay closed indefinitely.   
      ($1 = 3.1738 reais)

 (Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by
Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)
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