INTERPOL may be called in to find Syrians holding false Brazilian passports

A police investigation that began in 2013 has led to the arrest of a

Published in 16/12/2015 - 12:49 By Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

O novo passaporte comum eletrônico brasileiro passou a ser emitido na última segunda-feira (6) pela Polícia Federal e Casa da Moeda e terá prazo de validade de dez anos (Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil)

Brazilian passport Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro may ask INTERPOL's assistance locating Syrian nationals holding illegal Brazilian passports. A passport forgery gang began to be dismantled on Monday (14), following eight months' investigations by the Rio de Janeiro Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

According to Aloysio Falcão, the police commissioner in charge of the case, police requested assistance from the Federal Police, the Superior Electoral Court and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with locating the Syrians who have used the scheme and have now officially become fugitives.

The gang “turned” 72 Syrians into Brazilian “nationals” between 2012 and 2014. A key player in the scheme, Ali Kamel Issmael, a 71-year-old man from Syria who holds a permanent Brazilian visa, was responsible for handling Syrians looking for a Brazilian birth certificate assigning them a Brazilian nationality. An employee and a former employee of a registry office in Rio de Janeiro are also implicated.

The scam was a simple one. Jorge Luiz da Silva, a notarial clerk who was responsible for issuing copies of birth certificates, would tear off pages of records books as of 1960-1970, and give them to former employee David dos Santos Guido, who would then sign the forged documents.

The false birth certificates gave Syrians a Brazilian identity. From this point, they were able to register as Brazilian voters and obtain taxpayer identities (CPF). The next step was to get Brazilian passports.

Issmael's wife, Basema Alasmar, was caught carrying a fake Brazilian passport and arrested. Ali and the two notarial employees involved are accused of criminal conspiracy and forgery.

In a statement, the Disciplinary Board of the Court of Rio de Janeiro said that when the fraud was discovered in 2010, it reported the case to Brazil's Public Prosecutor's Office, Foreign Ministry, Federal Police, and Civil Police. In February 2013, a police investigation was opened.

The Foreign Ministry has also issued a statement saying it does not handle matters related to foreigners in Brazil and added that “Syrian citizens arrive in Brazil on visas issued by Brazilian consulates abroad based on resolutions of the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE), an agency of the Ministry of Justice.” The Ministry of Justice said it is contacting authorities in Rio de Janeiro for more information so it can cooperate with state investigations.

The Regional Electoral Court of Rio de Janeiro (TRE-RJ) said the case has exposed flaws in Brazil's civil registration system and areas that need improvement. The Federal Revenue Service maintains that it adopts thorough document verification controls and is now introducing new validation steps in order to prevent fake information from entering the taxpayer ID data base. Contacted by Agência Brasil, Federal Police said an investigation into the case is in place, but it cannot disclose further details at this time because the proceeding is classified. The lawyers of the Syrian couple and those of Jorge Luiz da Silva and David dos Santos Guido could not be reached for comment.

Translated by Mayra Borges

Fonte: INTERPOL may be called in to find Syrians holding false Brazilian passports

Edition: Aécio Amado / Olga Bardawil

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