Brazil probes alleged money laundering on sales to Venezuela’s PDVSA

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Brazilian police on Monday launched an operation involving possible money laundering by the agricultural arm of Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA through imports of agricultural equipment from Brazil, authorities said.

Under the scheme, which has been under investigation for three years, PDVSA overpaid two companies, one Venezuelan and one Brazilian, for agricultural machinery to the tune of 200 million reais ($64.46 million) between 2010 and 2014, officials said.

According to police, Venezuela’s Tracto America, a trading company, bought agricultural equipment from Brazil’s America Trading which was sold to PDVSA at inflated prices.

The extra money was distributed to front companies, disguised as payments to consulting firms. Some landed in accounts in Brazil, but most ended up abroad in Panama, the United States and Switzerland, among other countries.

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