Executives at world’s biggest poultry exporter BRF ordered by police to leave posts in fraud investigation

Executives of BRF SA who were released by police on Friday will not be able to return to their posts at the company, the world’s largest poultry exporter, Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.

A Brazilian judge ordered their suspension to avoid the risk of them interfering with an ongoing investigation into fraud and evading food safety inspections, according to Reuters.

Police arrested former BRF chief executive officer Pedro Faria, the company’s former vice president Helio dos Santos and other executives on Monday. All were released on Friday.

BRF shares dived on the Sao Paulo stock exchange after the arrests that compounded concerns about the firm’s leadership following a 1.1 billion reais ($338 million) loss last year in the fallout from the ‘Weak Flesh’ investigation into alleged bribery of food-sanitation inspectors at BRF and other food Brazilian processors.

Faria, BRF’s chief executive between 2015 and 2017, and Dos Santos, who resigned last week as BRF’s vice president of global operations, spent the week in police custody with four other company officials.

Police have accused scores of people, mostly inspectors, of taking bribes in exchange for allowing the sale of rancid meat products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meatpacking plants at all.

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