A Brazilian oil and mining tycoon has been jailed in Rio de Janeiro after turning himself over to police on corruption charges. Eike Batista, who was once the country’s richest man, is accused of paying millions of dollars worth of bribes to officials for government contracts.
The BBC reports that Batista, who denies all allegations of wrongdoing, was arrested in Rio upon his arrival from New York on Monday morning.
The network cited Brazilian newspaper O Globo, which quoted Batista as saying he was now “at the disposal of the courts,” and that despite his denial of the charges, “As a Brazilian, I am doing my duty.”
Batista reportedly said he was returning to his home to clear his name and help the Brazilian government tackle what he said is widespread corruption. The BBC reports he will be held at Bangu penitentiary, a high security facility on the outskirts of Rio. He was originally taken to Ary Franco prison, but was transferred shortly after his arrival.
Batista’s surrender to authorities follows his sudden departure last week, when he fled to New York just hours before a police raid on his Rio home and was declared a fugitive, according to the BBC. Many initially assumed that Batista would flee to Europe using his German passport, a BBC South America correspondent said.
The resource mogul is accused of shelling out some $16.5 million to then-governor of Rio Sergio Cabral, who was also arrested for alleged corruption last year during an investigation called Operation Car Wash.
The BBC says the expansive probe has resulted in more than 100 convictions for crimes including money laundering and bribery, and has landed powerful figures, such as construction magnate Marcelo Odebrecht, behind bars.