September 14, 2017 / 1:53 PM / 10 months ago

BNDES president tempers rhetoric on JBS after fiery tweet

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The president of Brazilian state development bank BNDES on Thursday dialed back harsh comments he made a day earlier that spurred speculation the bank could sell its stake in JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), the world’s biggest meatpacker.

The logo of Brazil's development bank BNDES is pictured outside of the building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

After saying on Twitter on Wednesday that it was time for “Brazilians to redeem their investments” in JBS SA, BNDES President Paulo Rabello de Castro said on Thursday that “to redeem does not mean to make a withdrawal and save oneself.”

“We will begin to separate people’s wrongdoings from companies’ good deeds,” he said on his verified Twitter account. “To punish crimes but save companies and jobs.”

BNDES is involved in a legal dispute with the billionaire Batista family, which owns a controlling stake in JBS and has been fighting the bank’s effort to overhaul management after a major corruption scandal.

BNDES Participações SA, the bank’s investment arm, is pushing to remove JBS Chief Executive Wesley Batista with the support of other minority shareholders, after he and his brother confessed to bribing hundreds of politicians.

Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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