The Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG) launched, on the morning of this Wednesday (31), the Catarse IV operation to investigate crimes of embezzlement and money laundering in the Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais. According to the MPMG, it is a complex criminal scheme involving councilors and businessmen in issuing ‘cold’ invoices issued to legitimize the illicit payment of cabinet funds to investigated parliamentarians. The scheme also involves companies, properties and vehicles registered in the name of third parties, the so-called ‘oranges’.
In today’s action, arrest and search and seizure warrants are being carried out in Muriaé, Divino, Eugenópolis and Ubá, in addition to blocking properties and vehicles. At this stage of the operation, 16 people have already been reported and 696 crimes have been investigated. Two of the targets held the presidency of the Municipal Council of Muriaé, one being a councilor removed from office and the other a former councilor and military police officer on the reserve.
The operation has already seized BRL 310,550.96 in checks and BRL 77,228.30 in cash, two trucks, two vans, cars and motorcycles, in addition to blocking a farm and a luxury house in Muriaé, in addition to BRL 34,481.92 in bank accounts.
In a general assessment of the Catarse operation, 53 search and seizure warrants, two preventive arrest warrants, two temporary arrest warrants, two removals from public office, as well as the constriction and blocking of assets and values of the investigated, have already been fulfilled. as a claim for compensation of more than R$ 1 million as collective moral damage.
The operation is still in progress and has the participation of prosecutors, MPMG employees, police officers from the State Department of Special Operations (Deoesp), the Special Resources Coordination (Core), the Police Department for Repression of Organized Criminal Actions (Draco ) and the Muriaé Regional Police Station, all from PCMG, and the Organized Crime Combat Group (GCOC) of the 4th Region of the Military Police.
Phases of Operation Catharsis
The investigations began on November 12, 2021, when the MPMG launched the Catarse I operation to investigate crimes against public property in Muriaé. The second phase of the operation took place on November 25 of the same year and was intended to combat corruption and the practice of crimes against public property in the same municipality. Operation Catharse III was launched on June 23 this year, with a focus on fighting white-collar crimes also in Muriaé.