Once Brazil's Richest Man, He Now Shares a Cell With 6

Eike Batista in prison in Rio on bribery charges
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2017 4:05 PM CST
Once Brazil's Richest Man, He Now Shares a Cell With 6
Former billionaire Eike Batista in 2014.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Oil tycoon Eike Batista was Brazil's richest man and the seventh richest man in the world in 2012, with a $35 billion fortune and sports cars parked in his living room, reports the Wall Street Journal. Then came his remarkable fall: A year later, he was overwhelmed by debt before being accused of insider trading. Today, Batista is one of six men housed in a single cell at Bandeira Stampa Public Prison in Rio de Janeiro, his expensive head of hair (thanks to implants) now shaven off. Getting him there wasn't easy, reports the New York Times. Batista, accused of offering Rio's state governor $16.5 million in bribes as part of a widespread corruption scandal, was nowhere to be found when authorities showed up to arrest him at his mansion on Thursday.

Batista was instead in New York, where he'd flown two days earlier despite an order for his arrest, for what his lawyer says was a business trip. After he was put on an Interpol wanted list, Batista told reporters Sunday that he was heading home to "help clean things up" and "respond to the justice system, as is my duty." As soon as he touched down in Brazil Monday, Batista was taken to Ary Franco prison—described as a filthy "dungeon" with double the number of prisoners it was built to house—before being moved to Bandeira Stampa, or Bangu 9, which is less crowded. The BBC reports he will be kept in a cell with six other inmates. At Bangu, inmates typically sleep on concrete beds and share a squat toilet. Batista maintains he's done nothing wrong and says "prosecutors are cleaning up Brazil in a fantastic way." (Read more Brazil stories.)

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