Environment

Environment Minister under the microscope in illegal timber export probe

The Federal Police carried out searches at addresses linked to Ricardo Salles. Marshals have circumstantial evidence that the Environment Minister is involved in an illegal timber export ring

Environment Minister under the microscope in illegal timber export probe
Under Ricardo Salles, Brazil’s Environment Ministry has loosened deforestation controls. Photo: Alex Ribeiro/APA

On March 15, Brazil’s Federal Police announced the removal of Alexandre Saraiva as the force’s superintendent in Amazonas state. Less than 24 hours prior, Mr. Saraiva had pressed charges against Environment Minister Ricardo Salles and Senator Telmário Mota for allegedly facilitating illegal timber exports in the Amazon.

At the end of last year, the former Federal Police superintendent in Amazonas led an operation resulting in the seizure of over 200,000 cubic meters of lumber. With an estimated value of BRL 130 million (USD 24.5 million), it was the largest confiscation of illegal timber in Brazil’s history. Messrs. Salles...

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