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Procon to inspect gas stations in SP; fines can exceed R million

Procon to inspect gas stations in SP; fines can exceed R$1 million

Selling “branded” fuel and rigging pumps to charge consumers more are among the most common frauds

The municipal Procon of St. Paul A series of inspections at the city’s petrol stations are expected to begin in the coming weeks, with the aim of combating scams such as the sale of “baptized” fuel and modifications to pumps to make the consumer pay more.

According to Fernando José da Costa, head of the Municipal Department of Justice (responsible for the Consumer Protection Agency), the administrative sanctions foreseen for these irregularities can lead to the imposition of fines exceeding R$ 1 million on the owner of the station.

The Clean Fuel operation will be carried out in collaboration with bodies such as the state-owned Procon, the Institute of Weights and Measures (Ipem), Civil Police and the Secretariat of Finance.

An estimate by the Instituto Combustível Legal (ICL) indicates that approximately R$ 30 billion is diverted each year to the sector, half of which is due to tax evasion and the other half to operational fraud, such as adulteration.

As demonstrated by the State, In the last year, the irregular and flagrant use of methanol fuels has become more common. Infringement notices related to the substance issued by the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) reached, in 2023, the highest since they started being counted in 2017. There were 187, an increase of 73.5% compared to a year ago (108). Methanol is toxic and poses risks to health and safety.

Also of concern is the infiltration of organized crime in the sector, both to profit through fraud and to launder money from other illicit activities. Governor Tarcísio de Freitas (Republican) himself declared in May that around 1,100 gas stations in the state are run by criminal factions.

Fernando José da Costa was Secretary of Justice and Citizenship of the State of São Paulo from 2020 to 2022. He claims to have carried out around 30 operations that resulted in “more than R$ 5 million in fines, the opening of police investigations and arrests in flagrante delicto for having committed crimes such as tax evasion, criminal organization, money laundering and crimes against consumers”.

Source: Terra

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