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Brazil ex-billionaire on trial for insider trading

November 18, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A flamboyant Brazilian tycoon once named No. 7 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people has gone on trial in a landmark insider trading case.

Eike Batista faces market manipulation charges in the 2013 sales of shares in two of his companies. He has insisted he’s innocent, saying the shares he sold belonged to creditors, not him.

If convicted, Batista faces fines and up to 13 years in prison.

Tuesday’s proceedings in a federal criminal court in Rio marks the latest chapter in a vertiginous fall that saw Batista’s estimated $30 million fortune evaporate as his oil, mining, logistics and shipbuilding empire crumbled.

Experts say the trial marks a shift in Brazil, where the rich and powerful were long considered above the law.