Operation investigated BNDES contributions to JBS with suspected irregularities when Guido Mantega was minister.| Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

Former Finance Minister of the second Lula government, Guido Mantega, his son, Leonardo Vilardo Mantega, and former president of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), Luciano Coutinho, were acquitted by the Justice of the suspicion of corruption discovered under Operation Bullish, launched in 2017 and which investigated fraud in public bank loans to JBS.

In the decision of Judge Marcus Vinícius Reis Bastos, of the 12th Federal Criminal Court of Brasília, the Federal Public Ministry “supports the accusation solely in the statements – generic and empty – of the collaborator Joesley Batista”, registers the G1, and that the process was closed yet in the first instance due to lack of evidence.

“There is no evidence in the file to support the ministerial narrative”, said Marcus in a report by Estadão.

“It is not credible to assume that all [responsáveis
pelas áreas técnicas e diretoria do BNDES] have adopted behavior aimed at the practice of fraud, with a view to benefiting a certain company. The records do not contain any evidence to that effect”, he says in the sentence. The MPF has not commented on whether it will appeal the decision.

Operation Bullish investigated suspected fraud and irregularities in contributions granted by the BNDES to JBS, by entrepreneurs Joesley Wesley Batista, which reached R$ 8.1 billion.