In the Amazon, illicit networks associated with large-scale environmental crimes — which include invasions of public lands, in particular Indigenous Lands and Conservation Units, for purposes of agriculture, livestock and real estate speculation; illegal deforestation; the illegal extraction of timber and minerals such as gold; and the trafficking of species — pass through a period of strong expansion. The consequences are serious, inside and outside the region.
In addition to environmental degradation and the emission of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, such crimes have strong negative impacts on the region’s populations, ranging from harmful health effects to the creation of pockets of poverty and forced displacement. In addition, environmental crimes often fuel (and, in turn, are fueled by) financial and related crimes, such as corruption, paying and receiving bribes, money and asset laundering, fraud, cybercrime, and tax evasion.
The correlation between these practices has become increasingly clear. Investigations within the scope of the Federal Public Ministry and the Federal Police, such as the emblematic Operation Archimedes, whose first phase was launched in December 2017, revealed increasingly complex criminal systems. Such schemes involve, for example, the corruption of public servants of environmental agencies and fraud in environmental licensing to facilitate trade in illegally extracted forest products, such as timber. There is also strong evidence of corruption and asset laundering around the export of gold from the Amazon, generally from illegal mining.
The scenario therefore demands risk assessments of financial crimes associated with environmental crimes by governments and the private sector; mappings of the main actors and channels involved; analyzes of the impacts and dynamics surrounding such crimes, especially in the context of the dismantling of federal institutions; and recommendations for the improvement of public and normative policies that contribute to dismantle the nexus between environmental crimes and financial crimes, both at the domestic level and in terms of international cooperation.
In this context, Plataforma CIPÓ organised the webinar: “The nexus between environmental crimes and financial crimes in the Brazilian Amazon”, which took place on October 14, 2021 (Thursday), between 10-11:30 AM, time from Brasilia.
–Renato Morgado, Coordinator of the Social and Environmental Integrity Program at Transparency International Brasil;
–Rodrigo Oliveira, Legal advisor to Instituto Socioambiental (ISA);
–Larissa Rodrigues, Project and Product Manager at Instituto Escolhas and PhD and Master in Energy from the University of São Paulo (USP);
The speakers discussed the dynamics and impacts of financial crimes associated with environmental crimes, especially in the Amazon basin, as well as reflected on possible solutions for the holistic confrontation of this set of crimes.