Business

Agribusiness firms suspected of using public funds to influence politics

Major agribusiness firms are able to offset their tax bills and see money funneled back into their coffers. One Supreme Court justice believes these funds were used to fund anti-democratic protests

President Jair Bolsonaro meets with agricultural producers in Sorriso, Mato Grosso — "the Brazilian agribusiness capital." Photo: Alan Santos/PR
President Jair Bolsonaro meets with agricultural producers in Sorriso, Mato Grosso — “the Brazilian agribusiness capital.” Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Brazilian agribusiness organizations and major rural producers have found a way to reclaim a portion of the money spent on taxes, funneling it back into their coffers. And these funds, totaling hundreds of millions of Brazilian Reais, happen to be under investigation amid suspicions they have been used to finance political movements — including the pro-Bolsonaro anti-democratic marches seen on September 7.

The practice — which involves companies offsetting tax bills by contributing to state funds which are then invested back into the very same businesses — began in the state of Mato Grosso, in the heart of Brazil’s...

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