The Current

Eike Batista: The rise & fall of the world's 7th richest man

This is the story of a fabulous oil play gone horribly wrong ... Of a man who has lost all his material goods - including cars seized by the court, one of which the Judge was then spotted driving. It is the talk of Brazil but it is also a cautionary tale for investors and nations.
It's often been said that Brazil is the country of the future. And Eike Batista (C) was supposed to be the businessman to take the country there. But now the busted billionaire is in the dock. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes )

The former billionaire Eike Batista's fall from grace is playing out like a modern day real life soap opera in Brazil. According to Forbes magazine, Batista was once the world's 7th richest man. Only a few years ago, he truly exemplified the Brazilian dream of entrepreneurship. And then poof - it was gone.

To tell us more about Eike Batista, the Brazilian tycoon, and the trial he's now facing, we were joined by J.P. Spinetto. He's a reporter with Bloomberg News who's been following Eike Batista's rise and fall for many years now. He was in Rio de Janeiero, Brazil. 

In 2013, Mr. Batista's oil company - OGX - filed for bankruptcy​. And it wasn't only solely Mr. Batista who lost out large when OGX imploded. There were many investors along for the ride.

Now, some of the many who lost investments are banding together in a class action lawsuit. It's filed against Eike Batista, his oil company OGX, and the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission.

João Fontoura is the lawyer representing a group of smaller investors in the class action suit. He joined us from Penha, Brazil.

We reached out to Eike Batista for comment, through his lawyer... as well as Brazil's Securities and Exchange Commission and its central bank. We have not heard back.

The fall of Eike Batista and the bankruptcy of OGX is upsetting the Brazilian economy... but the reverberations go well beyond that country's borders.

For more on why others around the world should be paying special attention to this case, we were joined by Aldo Musacchio. He's director of the Brazil Initiative at the Brandeis International Business School at Brandeis University. He joined us from Weston, Massachusetts.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sonya Buyting. 

This is one of the most famous songs from the 1960's Tropicália cultural movement in Barzil. A song called "Bread and Circuses," by Os Mutantes. 


♦ How Brazil's Richest Man Lost $34.5 Billion - Juan Pablo Spinetto, Bloomberg News

♦ Brazil's Once-Richest Man Gets Ready for Oil Company Bankruptcy -  Juan Pablo SpinettoBloomberg News

♦ Insight: Batista's Brazilian empire was sunk by more than hubris - Reuters

♦ Brazilian judge in Eike Batista’s trial caught driving seized Porsche - The Globe & Mail