Bad Boy of Brazil Finance Is Now a Cattle-Ranching Billionaire

Shrewd, competitive and litigious, he fueled countrywide outrage with a massive telecom acquisition within the Nineties, feuded publicly with his commercial enterprise companions at Citigroup Inc. For years and then turned into caught up in a national corruption scandal in 2008. He became arrested on bribery fees, thrown in jail in brief and his fund pressured to quickly surrender some assets.

Now, a decade later, Dantas is betting on a massive comeback — as a cattle rancher, a speculator in rural land and a miner. Never thoughts that he doesn’t devour meat. The Opportunity Fund investment firm he co-founded is stated with the aid of enterprise insiders to own greater ranch land — about 500,000 hectares — than another corporation in Brazil and is thinking about reviving an initial providing for the commercial enterprise. Separately, Dantas is weighing extra investments into artificial intelligence generation. Things are going so nicely for Dantas, in reality, that he qualifies for the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for the first time. A new evaluation of his budget puts his wealth at $1.Eight billion.


Dantas, who has long guarded his assets in complicated entities, declined to comment on his net really worth. With his sister Veronica and longtime partner Dorio Ferman, he controls finances that manage a file 26 billion reais ($eight billion) in belongings, extra than double the amount it had when he turned into arrested a decade ago. That includes approximately 4.Five billion reais the government unfroze remaining July. Brazil’s courts annulled the case and freed Dantas of his 10-yr sentence.

As continually, rivalry trails Dantas. About 700 human beings squat on Opportunity’s land demanding possession and the fund’s livestock unit is accused of illegally elevating cattle on embargoed lands that had been illicitly deforested earlier than the fund obtained them, which it denies.

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He owes his new aggressiveness in the element to the truth that he has emerged unscathed inside the so-called Carwash corruption scandal that ravaged many other Brazilian tycoons. As Latin America’s so-referred to as leftist Pink Tide recedes, Dantas now not faces strain from the weakened Worker’s Party of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a goal inside the Carwash investigation, and his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached ultimate year.

“Dantas is taking benefit of a frail second for the employee’s celebration,” said Sergio Lazzarini, a professor at Insper enterprise faculty in Sao Paulo. “But there may be no saint in this story.”

Illustrious Clan

Dantas hails from an illustrious Brazilian clan of magnates and politicians. His amazing-brilliant grandfather was Cicero Dantas Martins, a rancher, and nobleman inside the country of Bahia, a negative location that has long been run by using oligarchs, who had a municipality named after him.


After dealing with money for a rich banker in Rio, Dantas, a Ph.D. in economics, joined with Ferman to located Opportunity Fund in 1994. It finally grew into a sequence of funds that purchase agencies and manage money for individuals and institutions, as well as their very own.

He made his riches and popularity as an economic wheeler-provider within the wave of privatizations of state-owned companies. It’s also where he landed in serial controversies with partners. His Opportunity Fund led a consortium inclusive of Telecom Italia and Citibank to pick out up behemoth Brasil Telecom in the Nineteen Nineties. But Opportunity and Telecom Italia had a falling out, followed some years later with the aid of a rift with Citi. Eventually, in 2008, under pressure from a lawsuit by means of Citi, he exited from Brasil Telecom, which would become telecom massive Oi SA in a merger.

Turned the Tables

Things got a lot worse that identical yr in a police operation, dubbed Satyagraha. Dantas became arrested twice and held for some nights for seeking to bribe a police officer to preserve his call out of the research, amongst different expenses. It took numerous years of wrangling, however, Dantas controlled to get the case annulled in a series of prison movements. He even became the tables on the police investigator who spearheaded the probe. The police officer, after a stint as a Communist birthday party lawmaker, is residing in Switzerland and combating a Brazilian arrest order related to his -year sentence for violating secrecy rules.

In 2015, Brazil’s excessive court docket upheld a decide’s selection to annul the Satyagraha case. The ruling came after the habeas corpus to release Dantas changed into criticized by means of forty-five prosecutors as a “shameless affront to Brazil’s democratic establishments’’ and blasted with the aid of greater than a hundred thirty judges for skipping due procedure policies, in step with letters posted in the nearby press.

Dantas also went on the offensive towards Citi. In a federal match filed in February in New York, he alleged that the bank conspired with Brazilian officials to wrest his interest inside the telecom enterprise a decade ago. He said he turned into punished for resisting the birthday party’s shakedowns for campaign money. Citi stated in a movement to dismiss the criticism that Dantas is trying to rehash old allegations that lack proof.

Business Growth

His agencies have also grown. Three years in the past, Opportunity’s Baratinha mine in Minas Gerais kingdom became operational and is now producing about 2 million tons of iron ore a year, coins flow this is financing eight different mining tasks together with for gold, phosphates, uncommon earth minerals and mineral water, in step with a person acquainted with the enterprise who asked no longer to be named due to the fact he was not authorized to talk on the matter.

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