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(CNN Spanish) - Three active managers and a former manager of the Bank of Brazil are under investigation for money laundering as part of the new phase of the operation known as “Lava Jato” initiated this Friday, state agency Agencia Brasil reported.
According to Agencia Brasil, the managers would have accepted payments to evade money laundering prevention mechanisms at branches of the Bank of Brazil in Sao Paulo.
The Brazilian Public Ministry explains that under this scheme the opening of accounts of phantom companies controlled by criminal organizations that conducted hundreds of money laundering operations was allowed.
Upon being notified by investigators from the Public Prosecutor's Office, the bank conducted an internal investigation that it shared with the authorities and that, in addition, "has initiated administrative procedures that may result in the dismissal of the employees involved."
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Three managers and a former manager of Banco do Brasil are among those investigated by Operation Minimum Alert, phase number 66 of the Lava Jato case, launched this Friday by the Federal Police (PF). According to the Federal Prosecutor
(MPF), the three were co-opted by financial operators (doleiros) to facilitate the execution of hundreds of money laundering operations between 2011 and 2014.
“Several elements raised during the Lava Jato operation indicate that managers linked to three branches of Banco do Brasil, located in Sao Paulo, received undue advantages to circumvent the mechanisms of
money laundering prevention of the institution ”. According to prosecutor Roberson Pozzobon, the investigated managers, when asked by their superiors about the values of illegal transactions, came to defend the normality of these transactions.
Facade of a Bank of Brazil headquarters, in Sao Paulo. (Credit: NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP / Getty Images)
The MPF notes that the illegal amount moved by those investigated, through bank transfers "of the accounts maintained by the criminal organization, exceeded the amount of 200 million dollars." According to prosecutors, great
part of this amount was converted into cash for contractors to pay bribes in contracts with Petrobras. "One of the investigated doleiros came to move 150 million dollars," said Pozzobon, during a press interview to detail the operation in Curitiba.
“The misconduct of the administrators has allowed accounts on behalf of phantom companies controlled by criminal organizations to open and operate in the financial institution for a long time, carrying out hundreds of money laundering operations, including deposits and cash withdrawals significant". details the MPF.
Prosecutors reported that the evidence indicated that the investigated managers acted to “incorrectly close the records of the money laundering detection system of Banco do Brasil by inserting justifications that they knew were false, which prevented or hindered the submission of suspicious transactions to Bank".
Investigators of the operation also said that the Bank of Brazil was informed of the existence of the criminal scheme that involves the employees of the institution. According to Prosecutor Pozzobon, the bank, then
Under judicial subpoena, he conducted internal confidential investigations, the results of which were sent to Lava Jato investigators, including "other evidence of the actions of its employees to facilitate money laundering operations."
Bank of Brazil Note
By means of a note, issued by its press office, Banco de Brasil reported that it has been collaborating with the investigations and has initiated administrative procedures involving the investigated employees.
"Banco de Brasil reports that it has been collaborating with the authorities in the operation of Minimum Alert, as it has initiated administrative procedures that may result in the dismissal of the employees involved."
According to the PF, the name of the operation, Minimum Alert, refers to the fact that “the atypical operation alerts of the bank's internal system for communication to Coaf are now closed, following the presentation of
justifications by branch managers, as if there were no signs of money laundering. ”
Case Lava Jato BrazilLava Jato