Prosecutor: Pezão’s wrongdoing continued after he became Rio governor

Pezão and his accomplices were arrested Thursday by the Federal Police

Published in 29/11/2018 - 15:44 By Carolina Gonçalves - Brasília

In a statement made today (Nov. 29), after the new stage of Operation Car Wash was launched—Operation Boca de Lobo (literally “stormdrain grating”), which saw the imprisonment of Rio de Janeiro Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão—Brazil’s Prosecutor-General Raquel Dodge said that the request to have the governor put in jail was made because the crimes of corruption and money laundering were underway.

“One of the crimes is criminal organization, and the information [collected] by Car Wash [investigators] indicate that this organization is still active, especially in money laundering—the crime committed after corruption, in a bid to conceal the money,” she declared in an interview in Brasília.

On the arrest of a governor serving his tenure, Dodge said the operation aims to “ensure public order and bring the ongoing wrongdoing of criminal organizations to a halt.”

Thirteen serious criminal violations identified were said to be underway and “had to be interrupted.”

She noted that public property is formed by the taxes paid by all Brazilians, and mentioned the need for a quick answer to corruption. “This is why this crime must be fought and the necessary efforts must be made in order to cease acts of corruption.”

A procuradora-geral da República, Raquel Dodge, concede entrevista coletiva à imprensa  para falar sobre a operação da Polícia Federal que prendeu na manhã desta quinta-feira, 29 o governador do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão
Brazil's Prosecutor-General Raquel Dodge - José Cruz/Agência Brasil


In addition to preventive detentions, Raquel Dodge reported that 30 search and seizure orders have been issued. “I requested a number of preventive measures—including search and seizure and sequestration—to refund the treasury,” she noted. The amount sequestered adds up $10 million, which is believed to have been pocketed by Pezão from 2007 to 2015.

“I have stressed the need for the money to be restored. These are funds paid by taxpayers. This is why crimes of this nature are so grave,” she argued.

In addition to Pezão, the current spin-off of Operation Car Wash has targeted his advisers, one of his nephews, and executives.

“There were a succession of individuals who took part in this criminal organization, and even after the arrest of those who spearheaded the criminal scheme, new leaders were introduced, and in this connection [the probes] point towards the present government of Rio, who is believed to have taken up this role,” the report drafted for the case reads.

Vice-Governor Francisco Dornelles is expected to serve in Pezão’s place.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Kleber Sampaio / Nira Foster

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