SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil's Federal Police say they have begun legal proceedings against companies allegedly involved in a tax fraud scheme that has cost the public coffers almost $2 billion in unpaid fines and taxes.
Police said on Thursday they had uncovered "criminal organizations" suspected of causing a shortfall of at least 6 billion reais ($1.9 billion) in unpaid taxes.
A federal police press officer said Friday that more than 50 companies in the industrial, financial and agricultural sectors are being investigated for allegedly bribing officials at the Finance Ministry's tax appeals court to reduce or annul fines on upaid taxes. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
He would not name any of the companies being investigated.