Brazil police probe ‘corruption’ in agriculture ministry

Federal police believe the Agriculture Ministry received millions of Brazilian reals in bribes

Brazilian police have opened two separate “corruption” investigations into whether food companies, including meatpackers, received illicit protection from government sometimes in exchange for bribes.

So far, 10 people across four Brazilian states have been arrested as part of the ongoing duo of investigations into alleged government corruption.

The two probes look at whether inspection protocol was eased by Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAP) officials for an unspecified number of unnamed agribusiness firms.

These fresh investigations come just months after Brazil’s meat industry was rocked by claims government health inspectors were bribed to ignore food safety crimes. And the new investigations raise serious questions about links between the country’s food industry and government.

Multi-million real cash scheme

One of the newly-launched police probes involves an alleged scheme to move around R$3m ($968,000) in government bribes over six years between 2010 and 2016.

Investigators claim to have evidence that MAP officials received monthly bribes from agribusiness companies to either delay or cancel fines. If guilty, this is a crime carrying a maximum 12-year prison sentence in Brazil.
The federal police are also investigating alleged favourable protection of companies in the agribusiness supply chain, as well as the hounding of government food safety inspectors through disciplinary procedures and removal.

More than 100 police officers are involved in this investigation and police claim to have found documents suggesting large companies were protected by MAP staff.

Adulterated fish

It is believed some companies were importing chemically adulterated fish from China. Water and other chemicals are believed to have been added to the imported fish that may have increased its weight – and thus its price.

Federal police claim they suspect adulterated fish imports were diverted without proper reinspection with the complicity of public officials to allow the products to enter Brazil more easily.

The two new investigations have struck at the heart of the Brazil’s farming industry, which was already reeling from the brief loss of export markets that suspended trade following claims of corruption and collusion in the meat sector.

Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi had earlier criticised the federal police for its handling of the national tainted meat investigation, dubbed ‘Weak Flesh’.

In statement from MAP, the government department said it “fully supports” the action of the two federal police investigations and is collaborating with officers. All staff involved in the investigation have been removed from office for 60 days and MAP added it will open its own investigation into the alleged corruption.

Related News

The meat processor said it is 'collaborating' with police over the corruption investigation

Brazil’s Minerva Foods linked to police probe

JBS executives, including Wesley Batista, were collectively fined $66m

JBS chiefs enter plea bargain amid bribery claims

Brazil beef exports rising after meat scandal

Brazil beef exports rising after meat scandal

Brazil's meat is safe to eat and does not pose a public health risk, according to government officials

No health risk from Brazil’s meat scandal, says envoy

Watch: Brazil meat scandal

Brazil's beef industry is adamant that the meat scandal won't hurt export growth

Brazil standing by export hope as meat scandal cools

A diplomatic offensive from Brazil's president Michel Temer eased the meat scandal

Brazil meat scandal could spark billions in losses

It is unclear at this stage if Brazil will face export bans as a result of the meat scandal

Brazil rocked by rotten meat scandal

Four Brazilian slaughterhouses have been banned from selling meat to Europe

Brazil meat scandal: EU says trade ban ‘inaccurate’

Brazil's pork production is expected to rise this year too

Brazil meat scandal: limited damage to pork

Copa-Cogeca wants to see tougher import controls after the Brazilian meat scandal

Farm body wants ‘action’ after Brazil meat scandal

Industry associations warn the Brazilian meat scandal could lead to job losses

Brazil meat scandal: trade hits back after police sting

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.