The leader of Jair Bolsonaro’s government in Congress, Senator Eduardo Gomes (PL-TO), made bank deposit requests to a businessman in exchange for ‘helping to postpone’ an ordinance from the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro). The parliamentary requests are in messages obtained by the Federal Police and published by the newspaper The globe this Thursday the 28th.
Gomes’ dialogues were found by the PF on the cell phone of a friend of the parliamentarian, the businessman Jorge Rodrigues Alveswhich was the target of Laundry Operation and operates in the civil construction and lighting sectors. The police action was triggered to investigate an alleged money laundering scheme and fraud in bids in Tocantins. The government leader denies wrongdoing and says the messages are ‘an application for a loan’.
In addition to the messages, the PF also found proof of deposits to people indicated by the senator. With the evidence in hand, the police forwarded a confidential report to the 4th Federal Court of Tocantins on July 11, requesting that the case be sent to the Federal Supreme Court.
“Finally, there are several conversations between Jorge and Senator Eduardo Gomes, indicating that Jorge apparently pays bills for the senator and sends him money, as well as asking him for favors and intercession in matters of his companies”says an excerpt from the document, which asks that the case go to the STF for reasons of privileged forum of Gomes.
The deposits, according to the document, have been taking place since 2016 in accounts linked to the senator and amount to about 760 thousand reais. In one of them, the congressman asks the businessman if he “thinks he can get 20?” by indicating the bank details of his advisor João Bosco Pinto da Silva. Alves then responds with an ‘Oops! Certainty!’. The advisor claims not to remember the specific episode, but said it is possible, as he constantly lends the bill to the senator.
That same year, in another conversation, it is possible to see a kind of accountability from Alves to Gomes. The senator asks what has already been done and the businessman responds with proof of deposits in five accounts linked to the leader of Bolsonaro’s government. The total amount exceeds 42 thousand.
Also according to the report, Alves would have even paid the senator’s bills. On the eve of Gomes taking up his mandate in Congress, he asked the businessman to pay for the buffet at his party, sending him a woman’s bill. Alves made the payment: “We are together, friend”, wrote the businessman.
The newspaper sought out the woman mentioned in the message, but she did not want to talk about it and passed the phone on to someone else, identified as her husband. The man, who did not want to give his name, but said the payment was used to pay for the drinks at the senator’s inauguration party and said that ‘several friends got together to help fund the event’.
Another dialogue indicates that, even during the 2018 campaign, Gomes also asked for payments to cover vehicle and food expenses. “I have to spend 70 thousand to a rental company that can give a note that takes care of all the vehicles that are in the campaign”, asked the parliamentarian two months before the elections. Alves only questioned whether the payment would need to be made that day. Then the entrepreneur receives a request for more money for food that week. “I need 30 to eat until Sunday,” wrote the Bolsonaro leader. “Uai, you’re eating a lot, friend lol”, joked the businessman.
“There are elements to believe that part of the values moved by the group may have gone to the aforementioned senator, through Jorge Rodrigues Alves, as a way of maintaining a good relationship, as well as for the financing of political campaigns”concludes the PF.
After all the payments, in 2019, the businessman asked Gomes to ‘intercede for him’ at Inmetro, to which the senator nodded. “I really need your help,” wrote the businessman. “Just say where,” replied the parliamentarian. “Inmetro Ordinance 20. It needs to be URGENTLY suspended or postponed,” said Alves. “I will ask as soon as I leave the presidency […]. I speak directly with Carlos”, said Gomes, referring to Carlos da Costa, then Secretary of Productivity, Employment and Competitiveness at the Ministry of Economy. “Very important! Friend, take care of me!”, concludes Alves.
Days later, the senator, who was still the deputy leader of the government at the time, went so far as to say that he could work for the dismissal of the then president of Inmetro, Angela Flôres Furtado, if the agency did not comply with his request. “I’m going to read here and put together a strategy. As a last resort, we ask via the Infrastructure Committee. If there is public spirit motivation, we even take this woman down.”
In messages exchanged on June 26 of that year, Gomes sent Alves the ‘proof’ of his action: an e-mail in which the president of Inmetro informed her office that the validity of the ordinance would be postponed by three months. A meeting between the senator and Angela Furtado is publicly recorded the next day. The new rules were, in fact, postponed and only went into effect in November 2019.
To the newspaper, Gomes admitted being a friend of the businessman ‘for 25 years’, but denied having committed crimes or irregularities. In a note, the congressman stated: “There was never any payment or transfer to Senator Eduardo Gomes in the cases questioned. The messages exchanged are self-explanatory: they are requests for loans to a friend, but which did not materialize”. The senator also said that he did not leave because of the investigations, but “to take care of the base” in the state and guaranteed that he will return to the Senate soon after the end of the leave.
Also to the newspaper, Jorge Rodrigues Alves said, in a note, that he does not comment on investigations that are under wraps. Carlos da Costa declined to comment. The Ministry of Economy said it was not aware of the matter and advised that Inmetro should be consulted. The agency, in a statement, stated that the validity of the ordinance was postponed because the agency ‘found that there were no luminaires with certification within the established parameters’. Angela Flôres Furtado, former president of the organ, clarified that the ‘decisions made were based on technical criteria’ and denied that there was any pressure from the senator.
(With information from Agência O Globo)