Protógenes Queiroz

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Protógenes Queiroz
Protogenes Queiroz.jpg
Born (1959-05-20) May 20, 1959 (age 59)
Police career
Current status Suspended indefinitely
Department Federal Police of Brazil
Allegiance Brazil
Other work Politician

Protógenes Pinheiro Queiroz (born May 20, 1959) was a Brazilian Federal Police officer who has led investigations in some of the country's most high-profile corruption cases. Queiroz was responsible for investigations leading to imprisonment of the former mayor of São Paulo, Paulo Maluf. He was a key figure in two investigations, in 2005 and 2007, into corruption scandals in Brazilian football (the latter against Boris Berezovsky's MSI group for money laundering in Corinthians). From 2004 to July 2008 Quieroz led Operation Satiagraha, a major operation into misuse of public funds, money laundering and corruption, leading to the arrest of the banker Daniel Dantas and several other prominent figures, including Celso Pitta, another former mayor of São Paulo.[1]

Protógenes Queiroz is a controversial and famous figure in Brazil. While he has been frequently lauded as a lone fighter for truth and justice in a corrupt system[2] — Brazil's Eliot Ness — he has also been criticised and investigated for going beyond his authority in the way he conducts his investigations.[3][4]

On April 13, 2009, Protogenes Queiroz was suspended indefinitely from the Federal Police for engaging in political activity.[5] Queiroz is now officially affiliated to the PCdoB (Communist Party of Brazil), and has declared that he will run for congress in 2010.[6]

Operation Satiagraha[edit]

For nearly four years (2004–2008), Queiroz led Operation Satiagraha, an investigation of the Brazilian Federal police into misuse of public funds, corruption and money laundering. Satiagraha resulted in the arrest on July 8, 2008 of several bankers, bank directors and investors. The most high-profile figure investigated in Satiagraha, the banker Daniel Dantas, was convicted to ten years' imprisonment in December 2008.

In an interview the Procurator of the Republic, Rodrigo de Grandis, stated that the purpose of Satiagraha was to investigate two distinct criminal operations, one of which was led by Dantas. Both of these operations focused on crimes in the financial market. Queiroz said that the objective of Satiagraha was to "combat a pernicious situation for our country. We were shocked by the scale of the two organisations, the level of intimidation and their power to corrupt."[7]

In mid July 2008, Queiroz was removed from Operation Satiagraha by Luiz Fernando Corrêa, the head of Federal Police, for breaking the chain of command of the Federal Police by not informing his superiors of the involvement of secret service agents. At the time that Queiroz left Operation Satiagraha, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — without success — called for Quieroz to return to the case.[8]

Following the removal of Queiroz from the Operation, he was investigated for collaborating with staff of the Brazilian secret service, ABIN, in the use of allegedly illegal telephone taps.[9]

Daniel Dantas[edit]

The most high-profile subject of Operation Satiagraha was Daniel Dantas. An investment banker with historically close ties to the Brazilian government, Dantas's Opportunity Group led an international private sector partnership that bought up a large chunk of the Brazilian telecoms sector in 1997, when this sector was privatised.[10]

Dantas was arrested twice by Queiroz in early July 2008 on charges of money laundering and tax evasion (on the second occasion Queiroz handcuffed Dantas personally) but each time released almost immediately. The President of the Supreme Court Gilmar Mendes gave Dantas two habeas corpus in less than two days.

Daniel Dantas was finally convicted to ten years' imprisonment in December 2008 for attempting to bribe a police officer.[10]


  1. ^ "Delegado que prendeu Dantas atuou em outros escândalos ('Delegado who arrested Dantas acted in other scandals')" (in Portuguese). 2008-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Protógenes torna-se celebridade no País('Protogenes becomes national celebrity" (in Portuguese). Diario do Nordeste. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  3. ^ "Protogenes bisbilhotou a vida de autoridades ilegalmente ('Protogenes illegally investigated the lives of authorities')" (in Portuguese). Veja Magazine. 2009-03-07. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "A Prova de Abusos ('The Proof of Abuses')" (in Portuguese). Veja Magazine. 2008-11-19. Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "PF afasta Protogenes por tempo indeterminado ('Federal Police suspends Protogenes indefinitely')" (in Portuguese). Veja Magazine. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "O Brasil tem pressa! ('Brazil in a hurry !')" (in Portuguese). Vermelho Portal. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Daniel Dantas e Naji Nahas comandavam organizações voltadas a crimes financeiros ('Daniel Dantas and Naji Nahas commanded organisations focused on financial crime')" (in Portuguese). O Globo online. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "Lula diz agora que Protógenes é assunto da PF ('Lula now says that Protogenes is a matter for the Federal Police')" (in Portuguese). JC Online. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "Protogenes vira réu por violaçao de sigilo e fraude ('Protogenes is formally accused for professional secrecy violation and fraud')" (in Portuguese). 2009-05-25. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Prominent Brazil financier gets 10 years in prison)". Reuters. 2008-12-02.