Former multibillionaire Eike Batista, whose pending corruption trial is linked to the Petrobras bribery scandal, has been allowed to go home from prison by a ruling from a Supreme Court Justice in Brazil, according to the Associated Press.
Justice Gilmar Mendes justified house arrest on the grounds that even though the alleged crimes were serious they had happened several years ago so that Batista’s release from prison would not impact the investigation.
Oil and mining tycoon Batista lost most of his $35bn fortune in 2014 when his Grupo EBX conglomerate collapsed in Brazil’s economic crash. In 2011 Forbes magazine had listed him as the eighth-richest man in the world.
Early this year he was considered a fugitive for a few days when he left Brazil for New York but he returned on January 26 whereupon he was arrested.
Batista and others are accused of laundering $100m in corrupt money linked to the Petrobras scandal, the bribes-for-inflated-contracts scheme surrounding the state oil company.