Bank casts doubt on the primary shareholders’ alleged unawareness of fraud
Americanas said it “vehemently” refutes Bradesco’s arguments — Foto: Leo Martins/Agência O Globo
Americanas has decided to react by filing a petition in which it criticizes Bradesco’s position in the lawsuit that opposes the retailer and the bank.
This is a Bradesco’s lawsuit, dated back to last January, which is in the 2nd Reserved Chamber of Business Law of São Paulo. The bank requests an early production of evidence, as a way to attest that there was an accounting fraud in Americanas, which led the company to a serious financial crisis.
In the same lawsuit, the bank filed a petition last week questioning the allegation of ignorance of the retailer’s primary shareholders about the accounting fraud, and also questioning the trio’s influence on the company’s decisions. Billionaires Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Jorge Paulo Lemann, and Marcel Telles have already said in a statement that they were unaware of the fraud. The company blames the former management team.
In the document already sent to the Chamber of Deputies, the company criticized the bank’s position, considering it a “media maneuver” to “falsify facts.” “The path they [Bradesco] are taking doesn’t make sense, it’s untrue and they are using completely baseless accusations by Miguel [Gutierrez, the company’s former CEO],” said this source familiar with the retailer’s petition.
A person close to the bank’s defense said Bradesco’s petition stems from the discovery of minutes of a December 2022 Americanas board meeting in which the company’s then-future CEO, Sergio Rial, said the company had to go to “war” and had spent all the money raised through a stock offering. “The bank has been trying for months to gather information about the trio’s involvement in the fraud, and what Miguel took is new data that must be investigated, but Bradesco’s move is something that predates Miguel’s accusations,” said a person familiar with the January lawsuit.
In its statement, Americanas said that shortly after Bradesco’s petition last week, “in a millimetric combined move,” Mr. Gutierrez spoke out in the lawsuit filing responding to the bank’s petition, and attached a statement saying that the board of directors is responsible for the retailer’s accounting practices.
In a statement, Americanas confirmed that it had filed the lawsuit with the São Paulo court. The retailer said it “vehemently” refutes Bradesco’s arguments. It said it regrets the bank’s position, which is not shared by the other creditor banks, and that it is negotiating the recovery plan.
In addition to this request, another one is being made by the bank in the company’s court-supervised reorganization plan, cited by the retailer in the petition. Bradesco requested the exclusion from the list of creditors the values listed as “surety credit” in Class III, or without collateral.
In practice, the exclusion of credits would mean that the number of sureties honored after the court-supervised reorganization request would not be subject to the effects of the financial restructuring. Itaú Unibanco, Santander, and ABC Brasil opposed Bradesco’s request in court. Asked for comment, Bradesco declined to comment.
(Rodrigo Carro contributed to this story.)
*Por Adriana Mattos — São Paulo
Source: Valor International