Batista hints at trouble for Brazil

The legal headache facing Brazil's former richest man is a sign of the times for the slowing emerging-market economy.

A threatened $31m lawsuit may be just a fleabite for a man once valued at $30bn but it's undoubtedly another problem that Eike Batista doesn't need. Formerly Brazil's richest man, Batista's net worth has dwindled to around $200m, reports Bloomberg, as his oil-to-entertainment empire teeters on the edge of collapse, owing billions to Brazil's banks.

Much-hyped oil and gas discoveries by OGX, his flagship company, have proved to be flops and the many retail investors who helped finance his ventures are furious. Hence the pending lawsuit that accuses him and other directors of insider trading and releasing misleading information about the firm's prospects.

What the commentators said

Consequently, "his demise is also a broader sign of the tougher times ahead for Brazilian businesses now that the excitement over commodities is waning", said Joe Leahy and Samantha Pearson in the FT. In a less optimistic era, capital for much-needed private investment Brazil's greatest weakness may be scarce.

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