The president of the Rondônia State Supreme Court, Sebastião Teixeira Chaves and the president of that state’s House of Representatives, Carlão de Oliveira, are among 24 top authorities arrested today in Brazil accused of embezzlement and sale of judicial sentences.
The arrests are the result of Operation Domino. unleashed in the morning in the Brazilian northern state of Rondônia, against a criminal gang made up of the elite of that region.
The gang is charged with diverting US$ 32 million (70 million reais) in public funds in the last two years. According to the police, 24 people involved in the scheme have been arrested. The criminal group includes 22 of the current 24 state asssemblymen, busisessmen, prosecutors and members of Rondônia’s audit courts.
Among others arrested there were judge José Jorge Ribeiro da Luz; the Audit Court’s counsellor, Edilson de Souza Silva; state attorney José Carlos Vitachi; the Assembly’s general director, José Ronaldo Palitot, and aides and relatives of assemblymen.
Joaquim Mesquita, regional chief of the Federal Police, met reporters to talk about the operaration and the Mafia that is being broken: "There is strong evidence that this criminal organization established itself in the Assembly and it spread its tentacles to other powers in Rondônia."
The criminals made their money hiring ghost workers and then received their salaries. Everybody in the know was kept silent through little gifts, like wage hikes.
The group is also charged with extorsion, money laundering, gang formation, sale of sentences, and undue influence over the judicial and executive branches of the government.