Judge Spotted Driving Tycoon's Seized Porsche
Brazil judge says he was just looking after it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2015 12:07 AM CST
Former billionaire Eike Batista uses his cellphone as he waits for the start of his hearing at a federal criminal court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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(Newser) – Eike Batista used to be Brazil's richest man; now he's a billion dollars in debt and a judge is driving his Porsche. Reporters spotted the judge overseeing Batista's insider-trading trial driving the luxury vehicle in Rio de Janeiro earlier this week after a tipoff from the tycoon's lawyer, reports Reuters. The car had earlier been seized by the court, and the judge told a local paper that federal authorities "did not have a safe place for the car and it was exposed to sun, rain, and possible damage. As I want the car to be preserved in good condition, I took it to a covered parking space" in his building. The judge claimed he was looking after it instead of using it, and that this was a "normal situation."

Batista's business empire collapsed in 2013, erasing his $35 billion fortune and leaving him at least $1 billion in debt, according to Bloomberg, which calls the 58-year-old a rare "negative billionaire." After the Porsche incident, the tycoon's lawyer is expected to renew his call to have the judge taken off the case, Reuters reports. The lawyer has been seeking a change of judge since the early days of the case, when the judge described Batista as somebody who had "a megalomaniac dream of becoming the world's richest man." (Elsewhere in Brazil, a land-grabber accused of being the Amazon's biggest deforester has been arrested.)