Brazil’s Americanas board to remove top executives after accounting scandal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian retailer Americanas SA said on Friday its board had decided to remove three directors and three executives amid investigations over so-called accounting inconsistencies.

Americanas, backed by the billionaire trio that founded investment firm 3G Capital, entered bankruptcy protection last month after disclosing “inconsistencies” in its accounting worth 20 billion reais ($3.88 billion).

The company also owes a variety of creditors around $8 billion.

In a securities filing, Americanas said three directors and three executives had been removed “from all their roles and activities at the company and its subsidiaries.”

Jose Timotheo Barros, head of Americanas’ “brick and mortar”, logistics and technology was removed, as well as Ame Digital chief executive Anna Saicali and the head of digital, commercial and marketing, Marcio Cruz, the company said.

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The three had been part of the company’s top executive leadership.

Americanas said it had also removed executives Fabio da Silva Abrate, Flavia Carneiro and Marcelo da Silva Nunes.

A Brazilian court ordered in late January the seizure of corporate emails of managers and board members from the company sent and received over the last 10 years, according to documents seen by Reuters, citing its belief that “directors, board members, shareholders and auditors allowed a giant accounting fraud to happen.”

The seizure is still being disputed in court.

Americanas added that it has hired a forensic expertise institute and a consultancy to protect company data while its reorganization and legal procedures take place.

($1 = 5.1522 reais)

(Reporting by Andre Romani; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Sarah Morland and Sandra Maler)