Brazilian ex-billionaire Batista sentenced to 30 years in jail for bribery

Brazilian Eike Batista, the former oil and mining billionaire who lost his fortune and spent time in jail last year for alleged corruption, will have to hang about behind bars for the next 30 years.

After a corruption trial, the outspoken entrepreneur whose meteoric rise and fall made him the poster boy of a decade-long boom in Brazil that ended four years ago, was found guilty of bribing former Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral, Folha de Sao Paulo reports (in Portuguese).

He was found guilty of giving about $21 million to former Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabra in exchange for contracts.

The verdict was based on mounting evidence that Batista had paid about $21 million to foreign bank accounts held by Cabral in exchange for contracts with Rio State.

The 61-year old businessman’s fortune topped out at a whopping $32.8 billion in April 2012, when his oil and gas firm OGX's first wells went into production and his coal, iron ore, shipping and many other ventures were humming along.

The self-made magnate started out with small-scale gold mining in the Amazon which morphed into TVX Gold, a company listed in Canada in the 1980s, but which Batista left under a cloud before it was sold to Kinross Gold in 2001.

Batista's graduated to the big leagues during the last decade's commodities boom with gold, iron ore, oil & gas, shipping, coal, construction and sports promotion companies.

He really scored big in 2008, when it sold Minas Rio iron ore mine to Anglo American (LON:AAL), pocketing $5.5 billion and offloading an iron ore asset that required many billions more to put into production.

But poor planning and corruption caused his empire to crumble and Batista is now, if anything, a symbol of the current Brazil, a country in deep trouble whose economy grew just 1% in 2017, its first year of expansion since 2014.