Federal police investigate fraud scheme at Brazil's Caixa

Friday, January 13, 2017

Brazil's federal police launched an investigation on Friday into suspected fraud in the release of funds at public sector bank Caixa Econômica Federal.

The operation, known as Cui Bono, is investigating Geddel Vieira Lima, the bank's former VP of companies and ex-minister in the government of President Michel Temer, for his alleged participation in the corruption scheme between 2011 and 2013.

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The VP of asset management and another employee of the bank are suspected of being involved in the fraud, as well as entrepreneurs and company managers in several sectors.

Seven search and seizure warrants are currently being served on residential and commercial buildings in the Federal District, Bahia, Paraná and São Paulo, according to a release from the federal police.

The investigation into possible fraud at Caixa is based on information found on a cell phone retrieved as evidence from the home of former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha during a search in December 2015 related to Operation Catilinárias, an offshoot of the so-called Lava Jato investigation.

According to the federal police, messages found on the phone between Lima and Cunha "indicated the possibility of obtaining undue advantages by the investigated in exchange for the release to large companies of credit from Caixa Econômica Federal, which may indicate the practice of crimes of corruption, the creation of gangs and money laundering."

Lima left his government post in November after he was accused of influence peddling alongside Temer. Cunha was impeached in September. He has been imprisoned in Curitiba since October.