Brazil judge orders accounts frozen of ex-billionaire Batista

A Rio de Janeiro judge on Tuesday ordered the bank accounts of former billionaire businessman Eike Batista frozen after authorities charged him with stock market manipulation, media reports said.

Rio de Janeiro: A Rio de Janeiro judge on Tuesday ordered the bank accounts of former billionaire businessman Eike Batista frozen after authorities charged him with stock market manipulation, media reports said.

Federal prosecutors last week filed criminal charges against Batista and embarked on moves to freeze an estimated 1.5 billion reais ($635 million) of assets, including properties, though the move is still pending.

Saturday, the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor`s office had revealed it was charging Batista for deceiving investors over a reported plan to invest $1 billion in oil company OGX only to renege on putting a share option at a given share price level.

He also stands accused of using privileged information last year to sell off company stock.

The man who was once the world`s eighth-richest person -- and richest in Brazil -- could now face a jail term of up to 13 years.

Judge Flavio Roberto de Souza called on Batista to prepare a defense and for his banks to reveal the state of his accounts.

A Batista lawyer, Sergio Bermudes, earlier told Folha de Sao Paulo daily that "the accounts contain only enough to subsist upon -- nowhere near" the 1.5 billion reais reported.

Having by 2012 amassed a $30 billion fortune Batista saw that melt away to less than a billion after his oil firm OGX admitted it would be unable to fulfil production.

Last October, he filed for bankruptcy protection.

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