Brewery owner arrested for suspected tax evasion


Author: Abdo Filho

Source: A Gazeta - ES - 05/11/2009

Under the charge of having withheld R $ 8 million in state taxes, the
owner of Grupo Uai, beverage manufacturer, João Gilberto Sartorio, Betinho, was arrested yesterday, inside his house in Praia do Canto. Luciano Peroba, one of the group's executives, was also arrested. The two were arrested during the Bossa Nova II operation, coordinated by the State Public Ministry (MPES).

Betinho Sartório was taken to the DPJ in Vitória, and Peroba was taken to the DPJ in Laranjeiras. The two will serve a temporary arrest warrant, issued by Judge Paulino José Lourenço, of the Criminal Investigations Court of Vitória, for five days. Five search and seizure warrants were served.

The purpose of this operation is to collect evidence about the existence of Crimes against the tributal order. The Secretary of State for Finance (Sefaz) sent to the Public Prosecutor's Office criminal representations that account for the repeated practice of tax evasion by the group.

Prosecutors are awaiting the depositions of the prisoners and witnesses, for the analysis of the seized documentation. The procedure will proceed on an emergency basis due to the arrests decreed.

In the first Bossa Nova operation, carried out in 2007, the same Uai Group was investigated for allegedly having committed several Crimes against the tributal order. Betinho Sartório's companies were fined R$ 45 million. The complaint made by the Public Prosecutor's Office culminated in a criminal proceeding that is being processed in the 6th Criminal Court of Vitória for the practice of crimes of misrepresentation, conspiracy, use of software that would allow tax evasion, asset shielding and money laundering.

Bossa Nova II was carried out because, according to Sefaz and the Public Ministry, the same practices that culminated in the first action continued. The Uai Group is made up of soft drink, mineral water, beer factories and a series of beverage distributors.

The other side

Even arrested in the Vitória DPJ, businessman Betinho Sartório answered the call made by A GAZETA. He denied evading taxes and said his companies are open to any kind of audit. According to him, Bossa Nova II is a “relapse” of the Public Ministry. “They weren't satisfied in 2007 and now they've had this relapse. Accusing is easy, I want to see it proved. My companies are transparent. I don't have BRL 10 in the bank, how can I withhold BRL 8 million? It's a lot of money. This is madness.” Betinho expressed concern about the future of Grupo Uai and its employees. “This type of action tarnishes the company's name. Which bank will want to finance me after that? My companies could go bankrupt. The brewery is almost stopped, now the others can go the same way. I have more than XNUMX employees, I've never had any problems with being inspected, but I think they're getting tough”.