The Justice of São Paulo denied Americanas’ appeal in a lawsuit filed by Bradesco and appointed Kroll to inspect the retailer’s computers in search of evidence of fraud in the accounting scandal that led the company to judicial recovery.
Americanas claimed, in its appeal to the Court, that the search in the emails could pose a risk of leaking to the press the privacy of third parties not related to the case and asked for the suspension of the decision that authorized the investigations.
Judge Andréa Galhardo Palma decreed secrecy regarding the material collected from the computers. She authorized, however, the sharing of any evidence with the CVM (Securities and Exchange Commission), which requested access to the material to help with internal investigations.
“I consider the public interest in the verification of the facts in question to be notorious, which will benefit from the increase in transparency on the evidence capable of demonstrating the alleged frauds”, wrote the judge of the 2The Corporate Court of TJ-SP (Court of Justice of São Paulo).
Confidentiality only applies to material collected from computers “until screening is carried out by the appointed expert”. Other procedural acts will remain public “for reasons of public interest and transparency”.
The judge had authorized searches in all the institutional email boxes of the directors, members of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee and employees of the accounting and finance areas —both current ones and those who have held these positions in the last ten years.
Americanas appealed the decision, claiming that the case is already being investigated by the competent authorities and that auditing the emails creates the risk of leaks.
In response to the appeal, the lawyers representing Bradesco claimed that “Americanas was the stage for one of the biggest accounting frauds in the private sector”.
After the announcement of the discovery of “accounting inconsistencies” in its balance sheet, the company filed for judicial recovery to settle a debt of R$ 43 billion.
The searches on the computers also depended on the definition of the company responsible for the inspection, since the first ones, EY and Deloitte, refused to accept the mission, alleging a conflict of interest.
EY told the Court that it had already been hired by Americanas to compose an independent committee for investigations into the crisis. Deloitte said only that it follows “internal guidelines”.
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