Brazil detains officials in rotten meat probe

General view of Brazilian food company BRF’s plant, under investigations for products adulteration in Chapeco, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2017

Brazil detains officials in rotten meat probe

RIO DE JANEIRO: Police detained an executive of BRF SA on Saturday, as the meat company and rival JBS SA took out full-page advertisements to burnish their image after raids to investigate alleged bribes paid to conceal unsanitary conditions in Brazil’s meatpacking facilities.
Roney Nogueira, a government relations executive with BRF, turned himself into police for questioning at Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo, according to a BRF spokesman. The company, along with JBS, is part of a massive meatpacking industry that in recent years made Brazil one of the world’s top exporters of meat.
Police sought Nogueira, who was returning to Brazil from South Africa, because he allegedly discussed bribing health inspectors, including one who helped prevent the closure of a plant in the state of Goias, according to court documents. Police said Friday’s raids were prompted by evidence that some meatpackers had paid inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella.
Highlighting the importance to Brazil of agriculture, one of the few vibrant sectors in an economy still struggling from two years of recession, President Michel Temer was scheduled to meet with meat industry executives on Sunday, a government spokeswoman said. On Saturday, JBS and BRF launched a public relations offensive to deflect a crisis that threatens an industry with $12 billion in annual exports
“Quality is the foremost priority of JBS and its brands,” read an advertisement by JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, in publications that included the major dailies of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
In an email, a JBS spokeswoman said the advertisements, which also include radio and television spots, would run across 27 different media outlets through Monday. The company did not respond to a request about the cost of the campaign.
BRF, for its part, ran ads addressing “the millions of consumers whose confidence we have earned,” vowing to adhere to the principles of “truth, respect, quality and transparency.”
Officials at BRF did not immediately respond to requests for details about its campaign. In their advertisements, and in communiqués following the raids, both companies denied systematic fraud or abuse within their operations and condemned any wrongdoing that may be uncovered by the probe.


Davos 2020: Ministers, top executives in Saudi delegation to WEF

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, center, his wife Hilde, left, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen are seated during the opening session of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)
Updated 21 January 2020

Davos 2020: Ministers, top executives in Saudi delegation to WEF

  • A large KSA contingent comprising 55 senior figures will be attending the WEF in Davos
  • Around 3,000 leaders from business, public policy, culture and technology will be in attendance

DAVOS: Some 3,000 leaders from the worlds of business, public policy, culture and technology are due to arrive in the Alpine town of Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins on Tuesday.

The meeting this year — under the theme “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world” — is the 50th time the annual meeting has been held in the Swiss resort, but it comes at a time of growing global tensions over climate change and geopolitical confrontation.

Last week, the WEF published its annual global risk report, one of the gloomiest ever, with global experts concerned about accelerating environmental damage and potential political flashpoints in several parts of the world.

Saudi Arabia is sending a top-level delegation to the meeting, headed by Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet, with some 55 senior figures.

They include ministers and senior executives from industry, finance and the economy, in addition to many other Saudi participants attending for bilateral meetings and support roles, as well as the event’s legendary networking.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman will attend his first WEF annual meeting since he was named energy minister last year. Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman will also attend.

Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, will attend for the first time as head of a publicly listed company following the oil giant’s successful initial public offering (IPO) last year.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the WEF have grown stronger as the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategy has accelerated.

Later this year, Riyadh will play host to a meeting of the WEF under the banner of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the brainchild of Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.

“On the eve of its G20 presidency, we welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia … to shape those technologies in a way that serves society,” Schwab said.

In contrast with the strong participation from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, notably the UAE, Iran has pulled out of the meeting altogether because of the heightened political tensions in the region following the killing of the country’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a US strike earlier this month.

President Donald Trump is leading a big American delegation to the event, the second time he has attended Davos since moving into the White House, having missed last year. He is due to deliver a keynote address on the opening day of the meeting.

Climate change and its consequences look certain to be a big topic in snowy Davos, where the temperature rarely rises above freezing.

Greta Thunberg, the young environmental campaigner, is also taking part in sessions, including one on “averting a climate apocalypse.”

She has hiked over the Alps to get to Davos, having pledged not to use environmentally damaging public transport.

Davos 2020 is split across seven key themes: Healthy futures, how to save the planet, better business, beyond geopolitics, technology for good, fairer economies, and society and the future of work.

On climate change, the WEF said: “The Earth is getting hotter, the ice is melting, the oceans are rising, and they’re filling up with plastic. We’re losing species, building up greenhouse gases, and running out of time. It’s easy to feel downhearted.”

On rising geopolitical tensions, it added: “We need to move from geopolitics and international competition to a default of consummate global collaboration. Nations are going to have to change.”

In an effort to change the event’s image as a showy gathering of the global elite, often traveling in helicopters and limousines to the Alpine resort, the WEF has offered to pay half of the first-class rail fare from anywhere in the world to Davos.