PF makes operation against gang that moved more than R$ 61 billion in SC and 4 other states

Two preventive arrest warrants and 37 search and seizure warrants are served in 14 cities, including Florianópolis

The Federal Police launched Operation Colossus, on the morning of this Thursday (22), against a gang that moved BRL 61 billion in Santa Catarina and four other states, from 2017 to 2021. Crimes of currency, money laundering and criminal association are investigated. In all, two preventive arrest warrants, 37 search and seizure warrants are served, 22 of which are for individuals and 15 for legal entities in the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Paraná and Santa Catarina.

Judicial determinations are being fulfilled in the cities of São Paulo, Guarulhos, Franca, Campinas, Santo André, Mogi das Cruzes, Barueri, Rio de Janeiro, Niterói, Belo Horizonte, Florianópolis, Caxias do Sul, Recife and Curitiba.

The investigations started from the Financial Intelligence Report, with reports of suspicious banking transactions involving the trading of crypto-assets. Due to the complexity and grandeur of the financial operations analyzed, those investigated were divided into groups.

The group was responsible for the acquisition of large amounts of virtual assets abroad, in countries such as the United States of America, Singapore and Hong Kong, and their sale in Brazil.

shell companies
The third group was formed by shell companies that acquired crypto assets from Exchanges for the purpose of money laundering. It is noteworthy that among their clients there are dead people, beneficiaries of assistance programs, elderly people over 90 years of age, money changers, smugglers and traders from popular shopping districts in several cities in the country, especially Brás and 25 of March in São Paulo/SP.

A single accountant was responsible for more than 1,300 companies headquartered in these popular commerce locations in São Paulo. Most of these companies were shell companies. During the investigated period, the companies managed by this accountant moved approximately R$ 1 billion with the investigated arbitrators and Exchanges.

It was possible to establish the connection between the investigated facts and several operations already carried out by the Federal Police, such as Planum, Rekt, Valletta, Succession, Mardof, Kryptos, Betka and others.

These investigations were aimed at investigating crimes related to international drug trafficking, criminal organization, crimes against the national financial system, financial pyramids and money laundering. In addition to these, the evidence raised points to the direct purchase of crypto assets by drug dealers, money changers, smugglers and others interested in carrying out crypto-cable operations.

In common, all those investigated in these operations acquired millions of reais in crypto assets, whose purpose was to remit values ​​outside the country.

The investigations showed that, after each police operation carried out, the compromised shell companies were closed and new companies opened, in order to enable the continuity of the movement of values ​​of illicit origin. There are cases of shell companies that are already in the third generation.

BRL 61 billion moved
During the investigations, it was found that in a period of four years the investigated moved more than R$ 61 billion through the formal banking system. The investigations also point out that the movement of resources of such magnitude was only possible because several financial institutions that moved resources with the investigated had flaws in their Compliance systems.

In all, more than 40 financial institutions moved resources from those investigated. In certain cases, some of these institutions, upon detecting such suspicious transactions, communicated such facts to COAF and ended their relationship with the investigated clients.

However, the investigated filed lawsuits in court and obtained favorable court decisions, thus forcing the banks to continue moving resources from these companies.

Altogether, 170 federal police officers and employees of the Federal Revenue Service are complying with 101 court orders issued by the 6th Criminal Court of São Paulo.

In total, two court orders for preventive detention were granted; 37 search and seizure court orders, of which 22 are individuals and 15 are legal entities. Among the legal entities, there are search warrants in six Exchanges, four financial institutions authorized by BACEN to operate in the foreign exchange market and three accounting offices.

asset blocking
In addition to the search and seizure warrants, the blocking of assets and values ​​of those investigated in the approximate amount of R$ 1,247,770,199.05 was determined. It was also determined to 28 Exchanges, operating in Brazil and abroad, the seizure of virtual assets securitized by the investigated and that, eventually, are in their possession.

Buying and selling virtual assets, as well as carrying out arbitrage operations is not a crime. However, more and more people interested in hiding the origin of illicit resources have made use of this type of artifice.

Due to the current regulation and the lack of more effective control, the investigated resold virtual assets to individuals and legal entities interested in laundering values ​​arising from crimes.

The investigations point out that, during the years 2017 and 2019, the virtual assets preferred by the investigated, for the purpose of hiding values ​​and/or remittances abroad were virtual assets such as Bitcoin. However, due to its high volatility, from 2020 onwards, bitcoin was replaced by other virtual assets paired with foreign currencies such as the US dollar, called stablecoins, whose value variation is smaller.

The tax analyzes carried out by the Federal Revenue showed that many of those investigated provided thousands of statements in line with the RFB regulations. However, when these tax returns were compared with the bank transactions of those investigated, discrepancies of more than BRL 1 billion were detected in a single case.

The investigations also point out that billions of reais are remitted out of the country under the pretext of arbitration of virtual assets, which is why investigations continue to assess whether such amounts were, in fact, used in the acquisition of these assets and, also, to identify the origin of crypto assets sold in the country, as well as the eventual collection of taxes in these operations, which, if done, by the figures involved, would generate millions of reais in foreign exchange to the public coffers.

The operation
The Colossus operation, which was carried out at the Technology Laboratory against Money Laundering of the Delegation for Repression of Corruption and Financial Crimes of the Federal Police Superintendence in São Paulo, has the merit of generating information capable of helping the control and regulatory bodies in improving the business environment.

The name of the operation is an allusion to the computer of the same name that was developed during World War II by British cryptanalysts.

The objective was to decipher the coded communication, allowing allies to anticipate and neutralize enemy movements. Likewise, this police operation aims to “lift the veil of anonymity” that protects money laundering through virtual assets, providing control and regulatory bodies with subsidies to anticipate illegal laundering actions, thus neutralizing , this type of practice.

The crimes under investigation range from foreign exchange evasion, money laundering to criminal association, among others, whose maximum sentences together exceed 30 years in prison.

Via: ND+

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The article is in Portuguese

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