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Once Brazil's richest member of Parliament

João Lyra

Congressional member didn't disclose his offshore holding or Swiss bank account

Related to  Brazil
Data from: Panama Papers
João José Pereira de Lyra was once Brazil’s richest member of Parliament, worth an estimated $140 million. He served in the Brazilian Congress several times over the years, in the Senate from 1989 to 1991 and in the House from 2003 to 2007 and again from 2011 to to 2015. As a businessman with companies active in sugar cane, alcohol and other agriculture-related industries, Lyra has been forced to defend himself and his companies against government allegations that workers for one of his sugar cane farms worked in slave-like conditions. The charges are still pending in court.

In the data

In 2009, Lyra was granted a power of attorney for Refill Trading Corp. The company was incorporated in Panama in January 2009 and remained active in March 2016, a period that included the entrepreneur and Social Democratic Party politician's most recent term in the Brazilian House, from 2011 to 2015. Refill Trading used bearer shares, a financial instrument used to obscure the owners of companies. The Panama offshore company opened an account in Swiss private bank Pictet, listing Lyra as its sole authorized signatory. He did not disclose his control of Refill Trading or the Swiss bank account in his asset declarations of 2010 or in 2014 as a candidate for the lower House of the National Congress. Mossack Fonseca identified Lyra as a politically exposed person beginning in 2009 on but didn't ask him for additional information, according to the files.


Lyra did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
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