Black market currency trader accuses police of ‘getting things wrong’

‘Incriminating conversations’ referred to ‘legal investments’

Convicted black market ‘money-changer’ Nelma Kodama, arrested at Lisbon’s Ritz Hotel 10 days ago, claims to have nothing to do with a criminal network smuggling cocaine into Europe.

The ‘incriminating phone conversations and text messages’ cited by police relate to legal investments in precious metals – namely gold, her lawyer Adib Abouni has told SIC.

And authorities’ understanding PCC (the largest criminal organisation in Brazil) was somehow involved is “without proof”, he added. 

According to SIC, Ms Kodama believes she is being framed as a result of having turned ‘whistleblower’ in Brazil’s infamous “Car Wash” corruption case.

Online insightcrime.org is not so sure. In a damning exposé this week, journalist Cat Rainsford says Ms Kodama “had managed to slip out of the public eye until her recent arrest” but has a long controversial history that continued even after she was ‘pardoned’ from an 18-year- prison term for corruption, illegal foreign exchange and criminal organization.

In 2018 “she came under investigation again after appearing on social media wearing jewellery allegedly stolen from a mansion in São Paulo. She also caused a stir in 2019 when she posted a video on how to undo an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet“.

For the time being Ms Kodama is intent on fighting extradition to Brazil from solitary confinement in Tires women’s prison, coincidentally not far from the airstrip allegedly used by the trafficking network she is accused of being part of.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com