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  • Policemen brandish their weapons in Complexo da Mare favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Policemen brandish their weapons in Complexo da Mare favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 July 2018

As public security worsens, private security firms reap more profits.

Eduardo Cunha, Brazil's former President of the Chamber of Deputies, who has been convicted and imprisoned on charges of corruption, tax evasion and money laundering, has been linked to dodgy private security firms operating in Rio de Janeiro.

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The private security firm Dinamica Seguranca Patrimonial was cited, along with its partner, Edson da Silva Torres, in the Cui Bono Operation investigation, a phase of the infamous Car Wash Investigations.

Messages exchanged between Eduardo Cunha, and former minister Geddel Vieira Lima indicated a maneuver by the deputy favoring Dinamica Seguranca Patrimonial, according to The Intercept. The communications also pointed out that Torres had a secret partner in the private security firm, Pastor Everaldo, an ally of president Michel Temer, leader of the Assembly of God in Rio de Janeiro and presidential candidate during the 2014 election.

Dinamica Seguranca Patrimonial is not authorized by Brazil's Federal Police (PF) to operate as a private security firm. A former security guard who worked for the company told The Intercept that he left the firm because it had gone “bankrupt,” and he no longer received a salary. However, men, most of whom are dressed in suits, still enter and leave the company's address.

Another private security firm located on Paulo de Frontin Avenue who's owner was named as someone who received contract benefits from the Rio de Janeiro state government with the help of Cunha, who, at the time, presided over the now-defunct Telerj state telephone corporation.

Rio de Janeiro has become home to a slew of legally and illegally operating private security firms, the majority of which are controlled by state security officials, as well as militias. The Intercept investigation pointed out, public security agents control one in every four security and surveillance firms based in Rio and the surrounding municipalities. They include renowned judges, politicians, strategic battalions from the military police and others.

As public security worsens, their businesses reap more profits.

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At least 162 security firms out of a total of 638 are registered in the name of 188 military, civilian and federal police agents, prison guards, firefighters, as well as the armed forces, according to The Intercept.

The investigation also detailed that of the 638 private security firms registered by the Internal Revenue Service, only 126 are authorized to operate by the federal police.

“While a number of these companies may not be operational, the report found that several firms that haven't been authorized to operate by the PF are headquartered at fortified addresses, protected by high walls, iron gates, electric fences, barbed wires, but without any form of identification.”

Two Investigative Parliamentary Commissions (CPI) conducted by the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro, also found that between 2005 and 2015, more than 17,000 firearms had been diverted from these private security firms.

“This is worrying because the federal police exhort no control over these companies,” said state congressman and CPI rapporteur, Luiz Martins. “Several have closed, and we don't know the whereabouts of these firearms.”

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