In the operation called "Expresso" that affects the largest global coffee producer and exporter, 35 warrants for temporary arrest, 124 warrants for search and seizure and 61 warrants for the seizure of goods are being carried out, said the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG) in a statement.
As a result of investigations initiated more than two years ago by the Civil Police of Paraná and of previous work by the Federal and Minas Gerais Revenue, the operation aims to dismantle a so-called "tax evasion scheme" and undue ICMS credit in the purchase and sale of green bean coffee resulting from interstate sales.
As found out, the fraud would also involve crimes such as falsehood, money laundering and criminal association.
The target companies of the operation are located in 39 municipalities in four states: Belo Horizonte, Aimorés, Andradas, Borda da Mata, Divino, Itamogi, Itueta, Manhuaçu, Matozinhos, Miraí, Muriaé, Ouro Fino, Sponsorship, Poços de Caldas, São Sebastião from Paraíso and Varginha, in Minas Gerais; Londrina, Carlópolis, Cornélio Procópio, Ibaiti, Jandaia do Sul, Mandaguari, Maringá, Matinhos, Pérola, Rolândia and Santo Antônio da Platina, in Paraná; São Paulo, Espírito Santo do Pinhal, Hortolândia, Itatiba, Itu, Leme, Santo Antônio do Jardim, São Bernardo do Campo and Santos, in São Paulo; Vitória, Colatina and Vila Velha, in Espírito Santo.
"Initial surveys indicate that the amounts owed to the public coffers may exceed 1 billion reais in taxes," stated the MPMG.
Among those investigated for involvement in the fraud are major wholesalers and brokers of coffee beans from Paraná, as well as transporters, owners and representatives of Paraná roasters known in the national coffee industry.
According to the investigations, the merchandise came from Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, traded by cooperatives and rural producers in these states, with invoices destined to front companies, the so-called “noteiras”, also located in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo .
Transactions involving companies from both states made it possible to not pay ICMS on counterfeit invoices.
At the same time, according to what was found, another “notorious” company, located in São Paulo, issued false invoices for wholesalers and roasters in Paraná.
Adding up the amounts, the “notorious” of Minas Gerais and São Paulo issued about 6 billion reais in their operations, according to information from the Public Ministry.
According to the investigation, there was also evasion of the Individual Income Tax of rural producers who sold coffee without invoice. According to the IRS, the value is over 200 million reais.
Sought, representatives of producers had no immediate comment on the matter.
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