By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former minister Geddel Vieira Lima was arrested again early this morning (September 8th) in Salvador, three days after the Federal Police found more than R$51 million in cash in an apartment attributed to him.
Two Federal Police vehicles were in the residential condominium where Lima was under house arrest, in the neighborhood of Barra, a prime area of Salvador, the Bahian capital city. The arrest occurred shortly before 7AM according to government news reports.
The former minister was sent to the Salvador Airport, where he travels to Brasília and will be available to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF).
Last Tuesday (September 5th), the Federal Police seized suitcases and boxes of cash, in an apartment in Graça, in Salvador. The owner, Silvio Silveira, confirmed in testimony that he lent the property to Geddel Vieira Lima, who asked to store belongings of his father, who died last year. Until this morning, Lima was under house arrest.
The new arrest warrant argues the need for measures to prevent “the destruction of evidence that is essential to the elucidation of the facts”. After the request, Federal Judge Wallisney Oliveira of the 10th Federal Court in Brasília authorized the execution of warrants to collect evidence of crimes such as passive corruption, money laundering and criminal organization.
The police action is part of the task force called Greenfield, which is serving two warrants for arrest and three for search and seizure. All take place in Salvador and are part of another phase of Operation Cui Bono, which investigates misuse of resources in vice presidencies at Caixa Econômica Federal. The MPF did not detail the names and addresses of the warrants.
The first phase of Operation Cui Bono was launched by the Federal Police on January 13th of this year and investigated a scheme of fraud in the release of credits from Caixa Econômica Federal in the period between 2011 and 2013.
Lima resigned from his cabinet post in November of 2016 after another outgoing cabinet member accused him of pressuring the colleague to authorize the construction of a luxury apartment building in a historical preservation area. According to local officials Lima owned an apartment in the building project.