By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, was cited in the plea bargain of businessman Henrique Constantino, one of the owners of the airline GOL, the largest domestic and third largest international airline in Brazil.

Has Rodrigo Maia done something wrong? (Photo Alamy)

The plea was agreed upon with the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) and ratified on April 16th by Federal Judge Vallisney de Souza Oliveira of the Federal District’s Federal Court.

The Magistrate’s decision was made public only on Monday, the 13th.

Constantino concluded the collaboration agreement after becoming a defendant in an open criminal case based on the investigations of the “Cui Bono” Operation, which establishes a corruption scheme in the “Caixa Econômica Federal” Bank.

In Vallisney’s decision, which ratified the decree, the Speaker of the House is mentioned in Appendix 7. This appendix deals with “financial benefits to parliamentarians or former parliamentarians” through the Brazilian Association of Airlines (Abear).

There are no more details about how the “financial benefits” came about.

In addition to Rodrigo Maia, Senator Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI), former Senator Romero Jucá (MDB-RR) and former MPs Marco Maia (PT-RS), Edinho Araújo (MDB-SP) ), Vicente Cândido (PT-SP) and Otávio Leite (PSDB-RJ) were included in the same appendix.

In its plea agreement, which involves eleven annexes in total, Henrique Constantino undertook to reimburse the Federal Bank and the Severance Pay Indemnity Fund’s Investment Fund (FI-FGTS), and to pay R$70.7 (US17) million in “social damages”.

Henrique Constantino’s reports also deal with payments to the political group of former Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha (MDB-RJ), which includes former Minister Geddel Vieira Lima (MDB-BA) and lobbyist Lúcio Bologna Funaro.

Co-Found of GOL Airlines, Henrique Constantino, made a Plea Deal.
Co-Founder of GOL Airlines, Henrique Constantino, made a Plea Deal.

According to Constantino, the money destined to the members of the MDB was “counterpart” to legislative measures of the National Congress and the Legislative House of the Federal District, as well as financing in conjunction FGTS Investment Fund (FI-FGTS).

According to the report, one of the contributions that involved a bribe for Lúcio Funaro was made by the FI-FGTS at Via Rondon, a consortium for the construction of the western section of the Marechal Rondon highway, with which Comporte, a Constantino company, was partnered.

Lúcio Funaro would have been recommended by a businessman, João Jorge Chamlian, as someone who could free up the contribution of resources from the “Caixa” fund, due to his influence over the former Vice-President of the bank, Fabio Cleto, Eduardo Cunha’s political protégé.

Henrique Constantino reports that Lúcio Funaro asked for 8 million Brazilian reals in exchange for the approval of the FI-FGTS operation, but that he ended up paying R$4 (US$1) million, an amount passed on via false invoices issued by companies designated by Funaro.

The bribe would have been paid when the funding was approved in 2012, via installments disbursed to two companies, Viscaya and Dallas.


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