In March, the 16th government of the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Paraná opened an investigation into the coffee business sphere. Plenty of large businesses become suspected of tax evasion, money laundering, and other criminal activities.
The "Operation Expresso" carried out by local police included 35 temporary arrest warrants, 124 search and seizure warrants, and 61 warrants to freeze assets. The 39 brokers, shell companies, roasters, traders and producer groups in green coffee trading located in four states are suspected of providing false invoices. These resulted in about 1 billion Brazilian reais (approximately US$178 million) money loss from the public coffers, announced Minas Gerais ministry of state.
None of the involved companies were named, but the government said that it was a “large group of wholesalers and brokers of coffee beans from Paraná that are well known in the national industry" who is under suspicion.
The coffee involved in this case came from Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Government suspects that some of the local producers and cooperatives were knowingly involved in the corruption scheme.
As of March, 16th police have not found any pieces of evidence that international companies are involved in this tax fraud scheme.