Batista family member ensnared in Brazil cattle antitrust probe

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A member of Brazil’s billionaire Batista family should be declared guilty of fostering anti-competitive practices in the domestic cattle slaughtering market more than a decade ago, a body at antitrust watchdog Cade recommended on Friday.

In a post on the government's official gazette, Cade's general superintendency recommended charging José Batista Jr., the family's eldest member and a former chief executive officer of what is now JBS SA JBSS3.SA, with helping to rig the market.

The superintendency also said prosecutors and police in the state of Mato Grosso should receive the results of the antitrust probe against Batista Jr., who at the time headed JBS predecessor Friboi Ltda, and Frigorífico Independência SA, a rival meatpacker that went bankrupt almost a decade ago.

JBS said in an email to Reuters that it had nothing to do with the investigation. Efforts to contact Batista Jr. were unsuccessful.

Batista Jr.’s two younger brothers, Wesley and Joesley, have been detained for separate offenses, including insider trading. The board of JBS, the world’s No. 1 meatpacker, put talks to replace Wesley as chief executive officer on hold, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Gabriela Mello; Editing by Jason Neely and Lisa Von Ahn