Lawyer Helena Witzel, first lady of Rio de Janeiro was the target of searches and apprehensions this Tuesday, along with her husband, Governor Wilson Witzel (PSC), during Operation Placebo, which investigates alleged embezzlement of public resources for hospitals in campaign during the new coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Public Ministry saw “a very close and suspicious link” between the law firm of the first lady and the company DPAD Serviços Diagnósticos Limitada, by Alessandro de Araújo Duarte – appointed in the investigation as the alleged operator of businessman Mário Peixoto, arrested in Operation Favorite , on May 14.

Signed in 2019, the contract resulted in monthly payments to Helena’s bank. According to the decision of Minister Benedito Gonçalves, of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), which authorized the searches and seizures, the investigation has so far found no evidence that the services related to the inflows of money were actually provided. “The law firm of the First Lady of the State of Rio de Janeiro HABW (Helena Alves Brandão Witzel) supposedly entered into contracts with investigated companies, without the investigation, so far, finding evidence of the provision of the respective service, which explains possible professional practice of criminal activity “, wrote the minister.

Like the governor, Wilson Witzel, Helena had seized electronic equipment during the operation, which also searched her office. As a lawyer, the minister stressed that the documentation seized must be “exclusively correlated to the facts investigated here ‘.


In a note, Helena Witzel said that she had provided the legal services, said that the investigation did not find anything that could prove irregularities, and classified the operation as “imbued with undisguised political motivation”.

“HW Assessoria Jurídica provided services to the company appointed by the MPF, having received fees, issued an invoice and regularly declared the amounts in the office’s income tax return”, says the text. “Lawyer Helena Witzel reiterates her respect for the institutions, but regrets that the operation was imbued with undisguised political motivation, being symptomatic, in this regard, that the action was brought forward the day before by a federal deputy allied to President Jair Bolsonaro”, concludes the note, referring to federal deputy Carla Zambelli (PSL-SP).

On Monday, Zambelli said in an interview with a radio station that “there are already some governors under investigation by the Federal Police” and anticipated that there would be Federal Police operations. The information is from the newspaper The State of S. Paulo.

See too:

Minister of Health warns of increase in cases of covid-19 in the interior of Brazil