In the latest anti-corruption move since more than a million protesters took to the streets in June, Brazilian police Thursday arrested four police officers and 15 others in an alleged public-pension scandal involving at least $135 million.
Federal police allege that public money in the scandal was diverted into “built-to-fail” investments. It was then routed through fictitious firms to pay off the participants in the scheme and police who provided protection, the Los Angeles Times reported
In the last 18 months, authorities say $135 million was taken out of money-laundering companies by “oranges,” Brazilian slang for people used to receive dubiously obtained cash.
“The ‘oranges’ would withdraw the money from the companies. Except the companies were fake,” a federal police spokeswoman said.
Orange was also the color of a Lamborghini sports car seized in the investigation. Other items confiscated reportedly included a yacht and a lime-green Hummer, the Times said.
Ten people are still wanted on suspicion of money laundering and misuse of public resources involving city funds in 10 states around the country, the federal police said.
In addition to poor public services and police abuses, corruption and misuse of taxpayer money were main factors behind June’s mass protests, which have continued in smaller bursts since that time.
A number of corruption cases have emerged and a member of Congress was sent to jail for corruption and embezzlement.
Siemens and other international companies are under investigation on suspicion of forming a cartel to fix prices of subway and train contracts during the 1990s.
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