Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, one of the world leaders mentioned by name in the so-called Pandora Papers report released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) admitted he had placed some of his money in offshore accounts, but “always within the law.”
The neoliberal financier who once worked worked for the Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile, Guedes has maintained since 2014 a million-dollar company in the tax hideout of the British Virgin Islands which, according to the Brazilian Government, had been declared before the national Treasury.
Chile's current President Sebastián Piñera might face an impeachment trial due to the disclosures from the Pandora Papers, which in Brazil in addition to Guedes have placed Central Bank CEO Roberto Campos Neto under the spotlight for the possible crime of tax evasion.
Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro, came out in defense of the two officials, saying neither had “anything to hide” about their private businesses.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Augusto Aras has announced an investigation had been launched into the issue. “As usual, there will be a preliminary inquiry, listening to people and receiving documents. If necessary, we will make a request to open a case before the Supreme Federal Court,” Aras said.
“The first person to listen to will be Guedes, Aras told journalists. But he warned the Attorney General's Office cannot act solely on news from the press.
The Senate's Committee on Economic Affairs has already summoned Campos Neto and Guedes to testify on October 19.
Guedes has insisted he has always acted within the law. According to the Pandora Papers report, Guedes owns an account in the British Virgin Islands while Campos Neto has one in Panama.
Paulo Guedes is going to present to the PGR (Office of the Attorney General of the Republic) and the STF (Supreme Federal Court) a request to clarify that there was never a collision between public and private interests, the minister's legal counselors told the press in a statement.
According to the Pandora Papers, Guedes continued to operate his offshore undertakings after taking over as Economy Minister in 2019.
The documents that will be presented make it clear that the minister since December 2018 has departed from his management,” the lawyers' note released late Tuesday went on.
The opposition blocs in both houses of Congress believe Guedes has adopted measures in favor of holders of deposits in offshore accounts.
Sources close to President Jair Bolsonaro believe Guedes needs to grant an interview at the earliest, given the wear and tear caused to the Government by the case, the newspaper O Globo reported.