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The Colonel’s New Porsche

Source: O Globo.

Retired Rio de Janeiro military police colonel Fernando Príncipe Martins said on Monday that the brand new Porsche he was driving when stopped by a traffic “blitz” late Saturday night, in the Barra de Tijuca, is registered in his name and cost R$ 650,000 (US$ 325,000).

Principe, a former BOPE commander, had his license confiscated after he refused to take a breathalyzer test. He said he is a limited partner in a Rio security firm in which his brother is senior partner.

— I don’t understand all the fuss. What’s wrong here is the way the Dry Law is being enforced, not the fact that I am driving a Porsche that I bought with the fruits of my labor for the security firm, which is the source of my increased income …” said the ex-policeman, adding that before the Porsche, he drove a Jaguar.

A 2005 story in O Globo showed that nearly 50% of the 148 security firms licensed to operate in Rio are incorporated in the name of military police officers and state judicial police officials — both active and retired — or their relatives. Fernando Príncipe was cited as a partner in one such firm .

The retired colonel said that state law permits PMs to participate as limited partners and not as managing partners. Príncipe, who retired to the reserves two years ago, says he was not drunk and that he refused to take the breathalyzer test because forcing motorists to take it is unconstitutional.

— I oppose being forced to produce evidence against myself.  ….

He says he means to sue the state and the two agents who accused him of driving without his seatbelt, which he also denies. For refusing the test, he lost seven points on his license. For the seatbelt, he lost five points.

Rio police colonels make as much as R$ 19,000 a month, but in some circumstances made 13 times that in a single month — accumulated benefits for retiring officers account for balloon payments in addition to salary.

The state government emphasized that all civil servants receive salaries relative to a monthly limit R$ 18,725, but may also receive benefits and rights that increase their income.

“Every civil servant has the right to a 13th salary, one third of paid vacation, civil settlements, and benefits accumulated over the course of a career. These sums are added to the basic salary and represent all the income of an individual in a specific month, which is quite different from monthly salary,” the government said.

According to the Transparency Portal, the second highest compensation paid in July was R$ 126,593.25 and the third was, R$ 108,404.14.Another four colonels received between R$ 58,999.87 and R$ 52,932.91. At least one lieutenant colonel took home R$ 56,095.96 in the same month.

A police corporal reportedly earns R$ 1,282.06 per month. The average salary for Brazilian workers is 1,650.00 per month.