Seriously, how could things get any more absurd in the now-derailed Brazilian insider trading case against former billionaire Eike Batista? The case was supposed to be a landmark prosecution -- a stunning criminal case against a man that Brazil's president once called the “pride of Brazil” -- that might have made Batista the first person ever sent to prison in Brazil for insider trading.
As the trial was in its early stages, however, it was thrown into turmoil by the erratic behavior of the presiding judge, Judge Flavio Roberto de Souza of the federal court in Rio de Janeiro. As I discussed here, Judge Souza got himself kicked off of the case after publicly calling Batista a ?“megalomaniac” and then being spotted driving Batista's white Porsche Cayenne that had been previously seized by authorities.
As of this week, however, the case is, as one headline put it, simply “descending into farce.” The latest from Rio is that federal prosecutors in Brazil now allege that between April 2014 and February 2015, Judge Souza embezzled more than $360,000 in money seized from Batista “to buy himself a bulletproof Land Rover and an apartment in Rio de Janeiro.” The prosecutors claim that Judge Souza destroyed documents pertaining to the seized assets as part of this embezzlement.
According to the FT, prosecutors plan to refile the case against Batista before a new judge later this year.