The leadership of the Federal Police used a very questionable argument to prevent former minister Milton Ribeiro from being transferred from São Paulo to Brasília shortly after being arrested due to investigations into the existence of a corruption scheme in the Ministry of Education.
In addition to mentioning a risk to the security and “unnecessary exposure” of prisoners in the order that was decisive for the former minister to remain in São Paulo, as he would have liked, the PF directorate alleged “budgetary restrictions” to say that it would not be possible to make the transfer. .
However, a survey carried out by the column in the flight records of planes belonging to the corporation shows that, for other reasons, there is no budget constraint.
Weeks before Milton Ribeiro’s arrest, one of the jets was even used to take the director general of the PF, Márcio Nunes de Oliveira, to cities in the North and Northeast to participate in opening ceremonies and the inauguration of delegates appointed by him. for leadership positions.
The Federal Police already have three jets and a fourth, recently acquired, is about to go into operation. Between May and June, in the weeks before Milton Ribeiro’s arrest, two of these aircraft made no less than 40 flights.
It is a fact that, in addition to overturning the argument that there were no resources to carry out the transfer of the former minister to Brasília, strengthens the complaint of the delegate in charge of the investigation, Bruno Calandrini, who denounced interference by the PF leadership in the case. .
One of the points pointed out by Calandrini, who in a WhatsApp group told colleagues he did not have the autonomy to conduct the investigation independently, was precisely the decision of his superiors not to authorize the transfer of Ribeiro.
The decision of the PF leadership was decisive for the ex-minister not to be sent back to Brasília, where he should be heard in a custody hearing.
Milton Ribeiro tried to avoid the transfer at all costs. His defense had already formally requested that the transfer order issued by Judge Renato Borelli, the same person who ordered the arrest, be reversed. The lawyers’ request was denied. But a letter sent to Justice by the direction of the PF itself, stating that it would not be possible to transfer him, ensured that the will of the former minister prevailed.
In the letter, signed by Caio Rodrigo Pellim, one of the directors of the corporation, the Federal Police alleged budgetary restrictions and security reasons. “In recent months, the Federal Police has been facing a financial contingency that ends up directly interfering with its constitutional and legal attributions (…), a situation that, in itself, would already make it difficult to transfer prisoners immediately in today’s operation,” wrote Pellim. , on the same day as the arrest.
The police officers in charge of the investigation, coordinated by police chief Calandrini, even proposed that the transfer of Milton Ribeiro and the other prisoners to Brasília be carried out on career flights. But the PF leadership understood that the cost of the measure would be too high, and that the transfer could represent “unnecessary exposure” and risk to the prisoners’ integrity, “because they are public persons (and with notoriety) and considering the national repercussion of the act. operation”.
If the PF wanted to, it could have easily transferred Ribeiro to Brasília aboard one of its jets – something that is usually common in operations of this type. One of the planes, by the way, with the prefix PR-PFN, flew from Curitiba to Brasília on the same day that Milton Ribeiro was arrested. The aircraft took off from the capital of Paraná shortly after noon, when the former minister was already detained in São Paulo – it would be enough to make a stop in the capital of São Paulo, board him and take him to Brasília, as the judge and investigators wanted. of the case.
Contrary to the speech that there is a lack of financial resources, there are still flights made exclusively to transport members of the top of the corporation. On May 12, another of the aircraft operated by the PF took off from Brasília to Belém, where the director-general participated in the inauguration ceremony of the corporation’s new headquarters in Pará.
The following day, the same Embraer jet, prefix PR-DPF, flew from Belém to Palmas, for another Márcio Nunes agenda: this time, the inauguration of the new PF chief in Tocantins. Weeks earlier, on the 5th and 6th, the aircraft took the director to Fortaleza and Teresina, to swear in the new superintendents of Ceará and Piauí.
Asked about the reasons why it argued that it faces budget restrictions to not transfer Ribeiro while its jets continue to fly, including for the agenda of its director, the PF did not respond until the publication of this report.
The Milton Ribeiro case brought back suspicions of political interference in the command of the PF, an issue that came to light after the famous ministerial meeting in April 2020, in which President Jair Bolsonaro stated that it was necessary to change the command of the institution to avoid that their family and friends were targeted.
“I’ve already tried to change our security people in Rio de Janeiro officially and I couldn’t. That’s over. I won’t wait f. my whole dirty family, or a friend of mine, because I can’t change someone from the security of the end of the line that belongs to the structure. Will change. If you can’t change, change his boss. You can’t change the boss, change the minister. And full stop. We’re not here for fun,” the president said at the time.
Soon after, the then director general of the PF, Maurício Valeixo, was fired. The crisis resulted in the departure of former judge Sergio Moro from the Ministry of Justice. Moro left office accusing the president of trying to interfere in the work of the PF. Since then, three directors have been in charge of the corporation. Nunes, the current one, is a man trusted by the Minister of Justice, also federal delegate Anderson Torres, one of Bolsonaro’s most faithful squires on the Esplanada dos Ministérios.
The Federal Police is currently carrying out several investigations involving members of the Bolsonaro family – including the president himself and his children – and government allies.
Last week, as anticipated in the column, the Federal Public Ministry asked and the judge of the Milton Ribeiro case sent the case back to the Federal Supreme Court to investigate the suspicion that the President of the Republic acted to shield the former minister during the investigations. . Phone calls intercepted by the police investigating the MEC scandal indicate that Jair Bolsonaro may have alerted Ribeiro that he would be the target of a search and seizure action.