Corruption is the chief crime behind money-laundering in Brazil, in the opinion of the Minister of the Federal Appeals Court (STJ, Superior Tribunal de Justiça), Gilson Dipp. In his view, corruption is more significant than other crimes and misdemeanors, such as narcotraffic and the numbers racket.
Dipp participated yesterday, August 3, in a seminar on money-laundering at the headquarters of the Rio de Janeiro State Public Defense Ministry. According to Dipp, the biggest flow of money to be laundered comes precisely from crimes against public administration, that is, crimes of corruption.
For the STJ Minister, the investigations currently underway in the National Congress involving charges of corruption may speed up approval of the new law that includes the penal misdemeanors and tax evasion associated with unreported campaign funds as antecedent crimes in money-laundering.
The bill for the new law is still being analyzed by the Presidential Advisory Staff. “We are going through a moment of political turbulence, and next year is an election year, but it is possible that Congress will assign priority to the debates over the new law,” he added.
The Minister also emphasized that, while corruption is present everywhere, the difference between Brazil and other countries “is the certainty of impunity.”
In his opinion, the suspension of fiscal and banking privacy, telephone taps authorized by the courts, and lighter penalties for defendants who cooperate in investigations are effective instruments in the fight against corruption in Brazil.
Another participant in the seminar, Neal Gunnarson, state prosecutor from the US state of Utah, recalled that since 1997 Brazil and the United States have had an agreement for the repatriation of funds of unknown origin, but he criticized the Brazilian bureaucracy when it comes to expediting the procedures.
Gunnarson argued that Brazilian prosecutors should have more decision-making autonomy, as is the case in the United States. The American prosecutor also said that the law concerning money-laundering is more rigorous in the United States and that they have been able to intercept suspect funds before they reach the hands of terrorists.
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