Brazil Police Find US$ 16 Million Treasure in Cash in Former Minister’s Flat

    Money found in former minister's apartment - Photo by Federal Police

    A total of US$ 16.345 million was found in the apartment believed to be used by former Minister Geddel Vieira Lima. It was the result of the operation dubbed Lost Treasure, the largest single cash seizure in the country’s history.

    Seven cash-counting machines were used by police to count the money. Workers spent several hours to find out the value of the found cash. The flat is located in an uptown district in Salvador, state capital of Bahia.

    The apartment, the police reported, “is believed to be used by Geddel Vieira Lima to store money in cash.” Most of the money was in reais, but US$ 2.688 million was in US dollars.

    The cash was found during the exercise of a search and seizure warrant issued by a Brasília court under Operation Lost Treasure, a spinoff of Operation “Cui Bono?” (Who Benefits? in Latin), launched on January 13. The operation was in response to an anonymous tip given the police.

    According to the authorities, the apartment officially belongs to Silvio Silveira, who supposedly made it available to the former cabinet member for the alleged storage of “belongings of his father, deceased since January 2016.”

    An anonymous caller, however, reported to the police that Vieira was using the apartment to “store boxes filled with documents,” which was confirmed after talks with people living in the building.

    Operation Cui Bono probed into an illicit credit release scheme at Caixa Econômica Federal between 2011 and 2013, when Vieira served as vice-president of the state-controlled bank.

    Today, Vieira, who was cabinet member under Lula and Temer, is under house arrest in Salvador. He had been preventively arrested in July following obstruction charges during the investigation of wrongdoings in connection with the release of funds at Caixa Econômica Federal.

    “The money seized will be taken to a bank for counting and deposited in a special bank account,” the police reported.



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