July 1, 2015 / 12:12 PM / 4 years ago

Brazil police uncover another fraud scheme at finance ministry

BRASILIA, July 1 (Reuters) - Brazilian police on Wednesday raided the offices of the federal tax agency and national mint as part of an investigation in a fraud scheme that allegedly channeled 100 million reais ($32.26 million) in bribes to finance ministry officials.

Public servants from both entities linked to the finance ministry were allegedly paid bribes to give the company SICPA a multi-billion service contract to monitor the production of cold beverages such as beer and soft drinks, the ministry said in a statement.

The federal tax agency charges taxes on beverage’ companies based on their monthly production. The national mint is involved in the selection of the contract to monitor output.

The case comes only two months after authorities uncovered a massive corruption scheme at the tax agency’s appeals board that may have cost taxpayers up to 19 billion reais.

Although it made no arrests the police has seized the assets of the main suspects in the latest corruption case and is looking into their banking accounts, the ministry said.

Since last year Brazil’s political establishment has been rocked by a corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras that resulted in the arrest of the top executives of the country’s largest engineering companies. ($1 = 3.1002 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Alonso Soto Editing by W Simon)

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