By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Federal police in Brazil took more than twelve hours to count all the bills seized in an apartment in Salvador, Bahia, supposedly used by a former cabinet member of President Michel Temer for his illicit gains.
Officers counted over R$51 million reais they believe to belong to the President’s close ally, former Government Secretary Geddel Vieira Lima.
“After investigations resulting from data collected in the last phases of Operação Cui Bono (Operation ‘Who Benefits?’), the federal police arrived at an address in Salvador, Bahia which was allegedly used by Geddel Vieira Lima as a bunker for the storage of cash,” said the brief press statement released by police on Tuesday.
Police reported that R$42,643,500 in Brazilian currency and US$2.7 million in U.S. currency were seized in the apartment in Salvador belonging to Silvio Silveira, who allegedly loaned the unit to the former minister. The money was found by police as they executed a search and seizure warrant, after an anonymous telephone call told police that Lima was using the apartment to ‘keep boxes of documents’.
According to the decision of federal judge Vallisney de Souza Oliveira, “there are well-founded reasons that in the aforementioned property there is evidence of the practice of crimes related to the manipulation of resources carried out at Caixa Econômica Federal”.
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.
Lima was also accused of influence peddling related to business dealings with state-owned bank Caixa Economica Federal, where he worked during the Rousseff Administration. Since July, Vieira has been under house arrest for the illicit dealings.