Suspended from his duties, Helton Yomura testifies to police investigating a scheme of fraud in the ministry. Mandates still affect the Labor’s Party federal deputy and the minister’s chief of staff.
Supreme Court has authorized the dismissal of the Labor Minister, Helton Yomura, from the position, following a request from the Federal Police. The measure takes place within the scope of the third phase of Operation Spurious Registration, launched on Thursday Jul. 5th.
According to the Federal Police, the new phase aims to combat a criminal organization that was involved in the fraudulent granting of union records in the Ministry of Labor.
“The investigations and material collected in the first phases of the operation indicate the participation of new actors and indicate that important positions in the structure of the Ministry of Labor were filled with individuals committed to the interests of the criminal group, allowing the maintenance of illegal actions practiced in the portfolio” Federal Police said in a statement.
In all, ten search and seizure warrants and three temporary arrest warrants are being served in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. They were dispatched by Minister Edson Fachin, rapporteur of the Supreme Court case, at the request of the federal police and the Attorney General’s Office.
Yomura, one of the targets of the operation, testified at the Federal Police’s oversight in Brasilia on Thursday, and his home in Rio was the target of search warrants and seizures.
The estranged minister was accompanied by his lawyer at about 10.30 and deposed for about an hour. As the investigations are conducted in secrecy, the Federal Police did not confirm details of the operation.
According O Globo newspaper, Yomura was silent during the deposition and refused to provide the password of the functional cell phone of the ministry used by him, justifying that the device is also used for private purposes and therefore has “private information and files “.
The politician, following the advice of his lawyers, would have said that he will only pronounce after having access to the entire content of the investigation, the Rio daily said.
The removal of Yomura, reported by the Brazilian press, was confirmed by defense lawyer Cesar Caputo Guimaraes. According to the lawyer, the minister is suspended from his duties, and all legal measures are being taken to reverse such action.
According to Fachin’s decision, the politician is prevented from attending the Ministry of Labor and maintaining contact with others investigated in the operation or with servers of the folder.
In a statement, the defense pointed out that Yomura did not commit any illegal act and that its actions correspond to a “policy of valuing workers and institutions”. “While not knowing what acts are being charged, [he] vehemently denies any allegation of crime or irregularity,” the text said.
The Planalto Palace has not yet informed who will run the ministry after Yomura’s departure. The position of executive secretary of the portfolio is currently vacant.
In the third phase of the Espúrio Registry, the Federal Police also served search and seizure warrants in the office of federal deputy Nelson Marquezelli.
The parliamentarian, as well as Yomura, was prohibited from attending the Ministry of Labor and maintaining contact with other investigated and servants of the portfolio – unless it is essential to the exercise of the mandate, but for this he must send a prior justification to the Supreme Court.
In a press interview after the arrival of the police officers to his office, Marquezelli said he had “nothing to fear” because, despite acting as a deputy in several ministries, it has no relation to the Labor portfolio. “We are going to wait for the investigation. We know perfectly well that this is work that must be done and clarified for the population,” he said.
Federal Police also fulfills three temporary arrest warrants, authorized by the Supreme Court, which reach Jonas Antunes Lima, an advisor to Marquezelli, Júlio de Souza Bernardes, a chief of staff of Yomura, and Adriano José Lima Bernardo, the superintendent of the ministry in Rio.
The Operation Spurious Registration began on May 30th and establishes a scheme of fraud and corruption in the Work folder. In mid-June, during the second phase of the operation, federal police officers carried out search and seizure warrants at addresses of federal congresswoman Cristiane Brasil, daughter of national party president Roberto Jefferson.