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New Operation Investigates Brazil's State Pension Funds

09/06/2016 - 09h08

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BELA MEGALE
RUBENS VALENTE
FROM BRASÍLIA

A new investigation has been launched by Brazil's Federal Police and the Federal Public Ministry into allegedly fraudulent conduct in some of the country's largest pension funds.

So-called Operation Greenfield, uncovered this Monday (5) is the latest in a string of investigations that have rocked Brazil's already unstable economy. The targets of the investigation are the biggest national pension funds: Funcef (for the employees of the Federal bank Caixa Econômica), Petros (of Petrobras), Previ (of the Banco do Brasil) and Postalis (of the national mail service).

Divulgação
So-called Operation Greenfield is the latest investigation that have rocked Brazil's already unstable economy.
So-called Operation Greenfield is the latest investigation that have rocked Brazil's already unstable economy.

In total, the police have made six temporary arrests, and 34 suspects under investigation have made statements of coercive conduct. The amount of state money abused by the pension funds could be up to R$ 50 billion (USD 15.3 billion) over the last few years, says the Federal Police.

The investigation is targeting companies that received resources from the funds, such as Eldorado Celulose, part of the J&F group, which is the administrative body of JBS, owned by brothers Horsley and Wesley Batista. Wesley was forced to make a statement, but his brother was not taken to the Federal Police since he is not in the country.

The ex-President of OAS, Léo Pinheiro, and the ex- President of Previ, Sérgio Rosa, were also forced to testify. Pinheiro was arrested again this Monday under orders of the judge Sergio Moro, who is also on the judicial committee at the trials for Operation Car Wash being held in Curitiba.

The operation uncovered this Monday focuses on 38 companies, the Federal Police has reported. Among these are the construction companies Engevix, OAS and WTorre; IBG Electronica (new Gradient), Setr Brasil, GruPar (Guarulhos airport), Santander, Bradesco, Invepar, a branch of OAS, and the auditing and consultancy company Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Postalis, Petros, Previ and Funcef said that they are willing to collaborate with the authorities for this investigation. The WTorre Group says it has no direct relation with the funds in question, but that it too is ready to cooperate. Deloitte says that it is already collaborating, as is Engevix. Gradient, Sete Brasil and OAS refused to comment. J&F and its executives said that they are at the authorities' disposition.

Translated by GILL HARRIS

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