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Lula says that Americanas case is ‘motociata’ and compares Lemann to Eike Batista


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President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) stated that the case of retailer Americanas – a company that entered into judicial recovery after the discovery that billionaire debts were not recorded in its financial balance sheets – was not a pedal stroke, but a “motorcycle”. (a reference to events promoted by former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

Lula compared one of the company’s key shareholders, billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, to businessman Eike Batista – who made his fortune creating oil, logistics and power generation companies and suffered a collapse after disappointing investor expectations.

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“There [na Americanas] It’s not even pedaling, it’s a motorcycle. I think that when we are young, we learn that ‘nothing like one day after another'”, said Lula in an interview with journalist Kennedy Alencar for RedeTV and the UOL portal.

“This Lemann was sold as the epitome of successful businessmen on planet Earth. He was the guy who financed young people to study at Harvard to form a new government. He was a guy who spoke against corruption every day. And then he commits a crime. fraud that can reach R$ 40 billion”, added the president.

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Lula said that the financial problems can also be seen at Ambev, a beverage manufacturer in which Lemann is also an indirect shareholder. This week, Ambev shares fell after an entity of brewery competitors accused the existence of a billionaire tax debt. The news was published by Veja magazine. Ambev denies any wrongdoing.

“Now it seems to me that it’s coming to Ambev too. That is. It’s the following: what happened to Eike Batista will happen. People sell an idea that they are not, in fact,” said Lula.

Eike was considered the seventh richest man in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2012, he had an estimated fortune of $30 billion. Target of Operation Lava Jato, he was arrested twice, in 2017 and 2019.

According to Lula, the episode serves to show that investors in general react badly to the president’s social discourse, but would be lenient with private scandals. The company’s episode, however, has been a frequent comment by financial market analysts and is under fierce criticism from its main creditors – among them, BTG Pactual.

“What makes me upset is that any word you say in the social area, ‘I’m going to increase the minimum wage by ten cents’, ‘I’m going to correct the Income Tax’, ‘we need to improve [a vida para] the poor’, the market gets nervous, very irritated”, he said.

“And now one of them throws away $40 billion [na verdade, R$ 40 bilhões] of a company that seemed to be the healthiest on the planet. And this market does not say anything, it is silent. Why so much love for the big ones and so much disinterest for the smaller ones?”, questioned the president.

Who is Jorge Paulo Lemann

Richest man in Brazil. Economist, investor and billionaire businessman, he is one of the founders of 3G Capital and was at the head of the creation of Ambev, a merger between competing breweries Brahma and Antarctica.

One of the controllers of Americanas from 1982 to 2001, he became a member of the company’s board.

Despite living in Switzerland, his father’s land, he was born in Rio de Janeiro, in 1939. Lemann defends meritocracy and was one of those who instituted in the Brazilian financial market the culture of paying below-average wages with millionaire bonuses.

Alongside the partners of 3G Capital, he made millionaire agreements with the CVM (Securities and Exchange Commission) to close administrative proceedings. In one of them, the trio was accused of abusing control over Ambev to “increase its stake in the company to the detriment of minority shareholders”.

In 2021, he left the board of Kraft-Heinz, which is under the umbrella of 3G Capital and needed to make an accounting correction in 2019 after finding a millionaire error in financial statements.

Alongside the managers of Americanas, he is the target of a CVM lawsuit that investigates the conduct of businessmen after the announcement of “accounting inconsistencies” that culminated in the company’s request for judicial recovery.

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