Federal Police arrested former Minister Geddel Viera Lima today. He is accused of using one of the country’s major banks to make “illicit deals”. The Federal Prosecution Office said that Vieira Lima received bribes from companies negotiating loans from Caixa, a public bank. He had the help of former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is currently in jail.
Between 2011 and 2013, Vieira Lima occupied the position of Juridic Vice-President at Caixa. Evidence shows that he “acted in an orchestrated way” to benefit companies in exchange for bribes. Federal Police arrested Geddel Viera Lima in his home state Bahia.
The Federal Prosecution Office said that the former Brazilian Minister received bribes from companies negotiating loans from Caixa Econômica Federal. Moreover, he had the help of former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is currently in jail.
The investigation that led to this latest corruption scandal started by chance. In December, police apprehended the cell phone of Eduardo Cunha, Brazil’s poster-boy for corruption. Investigators then found long – and explicit – conversations between the two politicians. “The dialogues leave no doubt that [both politicians] sought illicit advantages,” reads a Federal Police statement.
The scheme included businesspeople from the meat sector, such as Joesley and Wesley Batista, from JBS, as well as road administrators.
Geddel Vieira Lima’s track record
Between May and November of 2016, Vieira Lima occupied the Secretary of Government. He negotiated directly with Congress but stepped down in November in the wake of a corruption scandal.
Geddel was the minister of National Integration during Lula’s government, between 2007 and 2010. In the ministry, he undertook the transposition of the São Francisco River, which he promised to carry out in his mandate. The first parts of the project were ready only in 2017.
Other corruption accusations
Former Culture Minister Marcelo Calero accused the President’s Secretary of Government of influence peddling. Calero informed officials that Vieira Lima tried to influence Brazil’s National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage to benefit a real estate project of his own.
Furthermore, Vieira Lima was accused of trying to use the power of his office to obtain a permit for a luxury beachfront building in the northeastern city of Salvador. The building needed a green-light from Brazil’s National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage, under the Ministry of Culture. Marcelo Calero – the former minister-turned-whistleblower – has told the Federal Police that Temer himself pressured him on the issue.
Moreover, according to a report published by Folha de S.Paulo, Temer tried to coerce Calero into solving the problem by giving in to the demands of his Secretary of Government. To make matters worse, Calero told the Feds he taped his conversations with the President, as well as those with Vieira Lima.
One week later, Vieira Lima had to step down.