Brazil’s securities watchdog agrees to ‘plea bargain’ on Americanas’ probe

(Reuters) – Brazil’s securities watchdog CVM said on Friday it has approved a mechanism similar to a plea bargain for cases related to bankrupt Brazilian retailer Americanas, in the midst of a billion-dollar financial fraud probe.

CVM reached a so-called “administrative agreement in supervision process,” it said in a statement, enabling the watchdog to reduce or erase punitive action in exchange for effective cooperation in the ongoing investigations.

The content obtained through the agreement would also facilitate and speed up investigations, the CVM added.

The company, which runs a chain of stores and one of Brazil’s largest e-commerce retailers, was thrown into crisis early this year by the disclosure of more than 20 billion reais ($4 billion) of accounting inconsistencies.

There are at least 23 procedures against the Brazilian retailer, according to CVM, including two sanctioning proceedings, when accusations were made.

This is the first time CVM has used such a mechanism to investigate a company.

Americanas declined to comment on the matter.

(Reporting by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Michael Perry)