A judge of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court suspended a fine of 10.3 billion reais (US$2.1 billion) on J&F, the company that controls the largest refrigerator in the worldJBS, according to a decision seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The court’s decision was not made public and The court did not immediately respond to requests for comment. J&F declined to comment..
J&F agreed to pay the fine in 2017 under a leniency agreement for its role in corruption scandals. Its founders, Joesley and Wesley Batista, They had confessed to running a political bribery ring.
The company had asked the court to suspend the fine, arguing that prosecutors were biased and had adopted “clearly persecutory measures“.
J&F’s request came after the judge overseeing the case, Dias Toffoli, ruled in September to throw out all evidence related to a similar leniency agreement with the construction company formerly called Odebrecht, based on messages that indicated collusion between the judge in that case and the prosecutors.
In the ruling on the J&F case, dated Tuesday, Toffoli argued that there is ““at least a reasonable doubt” about whether the company voluntarily complied the agreement with federal prosecutors, “which justifies, for the moment, the suspension of payments“.
According to a source familiar with the case, J&F has already paid US$590 million of the total fine. However, depending on the evidence, the fine could be reduced to an amount lower than that already paid.
Toffoli also gave the company permission to reevaluate the terms of the agreement reached with prosecutors through the country’s comptroller general to “correct any abuse“that could have been committed.