Federal Police launch new phase of Operation Zealots

Law enforcement agents are serving 33 court orders, six of them

Published in 26/10/2015 - 11:37 By Paula Laboissière reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

Sessão de reabertura dos julgamentos do Carf, que teve os trabalhos suspensos por quatro meses após a deflagração da Operação Zelotes (Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil)

Session held to mark the re-opening of deliberations at CARF, which had been suspended for four months after Operation Zealots startedElza Fiúza/Agência Brasil

The Federal Police launched today (Oct. 26) a new phase of Operation Zealots, a probe aimed at investigating criminal organizations tampering with official proceedings and rulings at the Administrative Council for Tax Appeals (CARF, in the original acronym). Over $4.8 billion are estimated to have been embezzled. Lobbyist Alexandre Paes dos Santos was taken to jail this morning.

According to a note released by the police, some 100 officers are serving 33 court orders, among them six for preventive arrest, 18 for search and seizure, and nine people were summoned for clarification in the states of São Paulo, Piauí, Maranhão and the Federal District.

Operation Zealots started on March 26 this year. The new phase has found that a consortium made up of companies encouraged the tampering of case proceedings at CARF and negotiated ways to benefit auto companies through tax breaks.

“The evidence indicates likely influence peddling, extortion and even the corruption of public agents aimed at having legislation favorable to these companies drafted and subsequently approved,” the note reads.

The crimes investigated by the Federal Police include influence peddling, passive and active corruption, criminal conspiracy, criminal organization, and money laundering.

Last week, the Internal Affairs Office of the Finance Minister filed the first administrative disciplinary case in a bid to scrutinize the conduct of an unnamed CARF councilor implicated in Operation Zealots.

The council is a governmental agency at the highest administrative instance and a division of the Finance Ministry. Its bench is formed with both taxpayers and Federal Service officials, whose duty is to consider appeals against rulings on tax debts with the Federal Revenue Service (first instance).

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira

Fonte: Federal Police launch new phase of Operation Zealots

Edition: Denise Griesinger / Nira Foster

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