Solicitor requests investigation of deposits in federal police accounts

26/05/2004 - 19h26

Brasília, May 27, 2004 (Agência Brasil) - Yesterday (26), Federal solicitor Luiz Francisco de Souza asked the members of the Chamber of Deputies' Commission on Public Safety and Action against Organized Crime to step up the process of installing a Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI) to look into the transfer of funds from American intelligence agencies to the personal accounts of Federal Police (PF) officers. According to Souza, between 1999 and 2002 the US Embassy deposited US$ 11.2 million in accounts belonging to officers in the PF's Division of Intelligence and Antiterrorist Activity.

Up to now, Deputy Alberto Fraga (PTB-DF) has been unable to gather more than 100 signatures on a petition to install the CPI. 171 signatures are necessary in the Chamber for a CPI to be initiated. "The legislature would be the ideal forum to penetrate [bank, fiscal, and telephone] secrecy and discover whether there was corruption in the use of funds," the solicitor contended.

In March the magazine "Carta Capital" published an interview with the former head of the FBI in Brazil, Carlos Costa, who affirmed that American intelligence agencies transferred money into the personal accounts of officers who conducted investigations of interest to the United States. "He who pays the piper calls the tune," Costa stated in the interview.

According to Souza, the money distributed by the US Embassy is directed to the PF's Division of Intelligence and Antiterrorist Activity. He added that this division was responsible for bugging the telephones of various Brazilian officials. Among them he cited the concealed listening devices planted in the Planalto Palace at the beginning of Fernando Henrique Cardoso's Administration, when American and French companies were competing for the multi-million dollar contract to install the Amazon Surveillance System (Sivam).

The bidding process was won by Raytheon, an American firm, and the Presidential chief of protocol at the time, Ambassador Júlio César Gomes dos Santos, was dismissed under suspicion of trying to influence the process.

Souza already submitted an official request to the general director of the Federal Police, Paulo Lacerda, to suspend the use of US funds for operations to combat narcotraffic in Brazil. In reply, Lacerda supposedly said that he will continue to use these resources for exceptional operations. "If the director of the PF maintains this procedure, I will take him to court (for administrative wrongdoing)," the solicitor insisted.

In his opinion, the agreement between the governments of Brazil and the United States is illegal, because the accounts are not examined by the Federal Accounting Court (TCU). According to Souza, they go straight to the US Embassy. The solicitor recalled that the only way to make the agreement legal would be for the transfers to be made to a public banking account and for them to appear in the Federal Budget.

Besides calling for the creation of a CPI, Souza informed that he will ask the Federal General Controller's Office and the TCU to investigate the utilization of these funds. In his view, the entire problem could be resolved by an executive order from the Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, or the director of the Federal Police, prohibiting money transfers from the FBI, CIA, and DEA to the private accounts of police officers.

Souza plans to send an official request today to the Solicitor General, Cláudio Fontelles, to make a recommendation to Minister Bastos along these lines.

At 10 A.M. the Commission on Public Safety and Action against Organized Crime is scheduled to receive testimony from the former head of the FBI in Brazil, Carlos Costa.

Translator: David Silberstein