Brazil uncovers multibillion-dollar tax fraud at Finance Ministry

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 3/26/2015

Brazilian authorities on Thursday said they uncovered a tax fraud scheme at the Finance Ministry’s tax appeals board that may have cost taxpayers up to 19 billion reais ($5.96 billion).

The news came in the midst of a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , known as Petrobras, that has rattled Brazil’s political establishment and weighed on the fragile economy.

In the latest case, federal police inspector Marlon Cajado said companies bribed members of the CARF, a body within the Finance Ministry that hears appeals on tax disputes, to get favorable rulings that reduced or waived the amounts owed.

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