February 6, 2015 / 5:24 PM / 3 years ago

Brazil police seize luxury cars, cash from fallen tycoon Batista

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian police said they seized seven cars, including a white Lamborghini, and $32,490 in cash, computers, watches and other items on Friday from embattled oil and mining tycoon Eike Batista, who is on trial for insider trading in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista (R) talks with his lawyers during a break in his court hearing in Rio de Janeiro November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Batista resigned as chairman of Oleo E Gas Participações SA, the flagship firm in his once-expansive EBX conglomerate on Jan. 27, two months after the trial started. The company formerly known as OGX is emerging from Latin America’s largest-ever bankruptcy restructuring.

Prosecutors accuse Batista of selling 236 million reais ($85 million) of OGX stock with the knowledge that its offshore oil fields would miss production forecasts. Batista denies selling the stock based on insider information, and says he was legally obliged to sell the stock to pay debt.

Batista’s trial is considered a litmus test for prosecuting white collar crime in Brazil, and comes as the country’s biggest corruption investigation looks into contract padding, bribery and kickbacks at state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Federal police said in a statement, which included pictures of the seized cars, that they acted on a judicial order, but did not say why the seizure order had been given.

Local media said investigators were concerned Batista had been selling or donating assets that were frozen as part of the insider-trading case. A federal court spokeswoman in Rio de Janeiro declined to comment and said the judge’s order was not public.

($1 = 2.77 reais)

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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