Abílio dos Santos Diniz (born December 28, 1936, in São Paulo) a Brazilian businessman. He is the former chairman of the Brazilian retail chain Grupo Pão de Açúcar (Companhia Brasileira de Distribuiçao), and victim of a famous kidnapping. Abílio Diniz is the father of former Formula One driver Pedro Diniz, whose career was largely funded by his father’s personal wealth and sponsorship connections. Abílio also competed as a racecar driver in his youth and won the 1970 Mil Milhas Brasil with his brother, Alcides. Diniz is currently the chairman of BRF.
Through GPA, Diniz became one of the wealthiest individuals in Brazil. In 2015, Forbes ranked him 369th richest person in the world and 9th in Brazil with a personal net worth of $4.4 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year.
Diniz’s father, Valentim Diniz, founded the company Pão de Açúcar, which grew into a major retailer, Companhia Brasileira de Distribuiçao. In 2002, Diniz sold a large stake to the French company Casino Group for an estimated $860 million and stepped down as CEO, but remained as chairman. In 2009, in one of the most expensive transactions of the Brazilian business history, Grupo Pão de Açúcar bought Casas Bahia from Samuel Klein, giving Abilio control of Pão de Açúcar, Casas Bahia, Ponto Frio and Extra Hipermercados. In 2012, Casino Group took control of Grupo Pão de Açúcar and Diniz no longer had operational functions within the group but remained as chairman.
In April 2013, Diniz was elected as chairman of BRF, and in September, he has stepped down as chairman of GPA.
In April 2015, Diniz announced he was wrapping up talks to raise his 5.07 percent stake in Carrefour and that he had shareholder support to take a seat on the board of the supermarket.
In August 2011, Diniz was notified by the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil to give explanations in a criminal investigation. Diniz’s next move was to then call criminal lawyer Marcio Thomaz Bastos, one of the most well-known criminal lawyers for those who had wealth. At this time, Diniz was president of the board of directors for Pão de Açúcar. During the 2010 elections, the offices of Bastos had helped Diniz pay 5.5 million reais, to congressman Antonio Palocci to help fund the presidential campaign of Dilma Rousseff.
After the discovery of contracts, drafts, notes, emails and other internal documents by TIME story, which all aimed to justify the payments to Palocci, the company GPA decided to establish an audit team to investigate the money given to Palocci in attempt to set things right. Two months after this, the audit team found no evidence that states Palocci aided the group whatsoever, giving the notion of corruption in this particular case.