Brazil’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has been named in a probe for alleged illegal exports of Amazon timber, following a Federal Supreme Court ruling allowing federal police raids in various ministry offices in the early hours of May 19. The Supreme Court ruling refers to suspicious operations linked to Salles. The Federal Police reported the existence of $14.2 million reais ($2.7 million) in “extremely atypical financial transactions” involving a law firm where the minister is one of the stakeholders. The ruling grants police access to the confidential banking records of Salles and others under investigation. Among the potential crimes are corruption, misconduct and smuggling facilitation involving public agents and businessmen in the timber industry, the documents reveal. Salles denied any wrongdoing and called the operation “exaggerated” and “unnecessary” in a press conference on May 19. “The Environment Ministry has always acted reasonably, respecting the laws and the due process. We understand that this inquiry was presented in a way that misled the judge,” he said. Environment minister Ricardo Salles (right) and President Jair Bolsonaro (left). Salles has been named in a probe for alleged illegal exports of Amazon timber tied to $14.2 million reais ($2.7 million) in “extremely atypical financial transactions” involving a law firm where the minister is one of the stakeholders. Image courtesy of Marcos Corrêa/Brazil’s Presidency. The investigation, named after the Indigenous deity Akuanduba, was set up in January after foreign authorities suggested the possible “misconduct of Brazilian civil servants in the export of wood,” the federal police…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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