Americanas Executives, Brazil Central Bank Chief Asked to Testify in Congress

A Brazilian Senate committee on Tuesday extended formal invitations to central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto and five former executives from beleaguered retailer Americanas SA, asking them to provide details on a pair of sagas that have gripped the country in the opening months of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s presidency, Bloomberg News reported. The Senate’s economic affairs committee wants Campos Neto to explain his position on Brazil’s benchmark interest rate, as Lula and his economic team continue to push for lower borrowing costs in an effort to boost economic growth. It wants the former Americanas leaders, meanwhile, to provide background on the financial collapse of the retail giant that filed for bankruptcy in January after unveiling a $4 billion hole in its balance sheet. The company’s sudden collapse has rattled Brazil’s credit markets and raised questions about whether it will have broader implications for other major businesses and the country’s economy. “The discovery of ‘inconsistencies’ led the financial market to ask if similar accounting methods are used by other companies,” senator Otto Alencar said in the invitation the committee approved. Read more.