Dantas’ Inferno: “Who Quashed Opportunity Probe In The MiniJ?”

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Did Dantas have friends at the MiniJustiça? Young Romeo says he really wants to know.

Órgão do governo arquivou processo contra Opportunity: “Government agency archived proceedings against Opportunity.”

The “controversial” Andréa Michael — the feds are very angry with her over Judy Millerist leaks of their pending case against Dantas back in April — contributes to this Folha de S. Paulo report on alleged favoritism shown to Daniel Dantas by public servants, as yet unidentified, in the Ministry of Justice.

Dantas is charged with attempted bribery of a federal agent in order to remove his name from the case known as Operation Satyagraha.

On the front-page of UOL, the headline is quite another, note:

“Government tabled proceedings against Opportunity.”

This seems like a likely example of the usual sort of malicious headine bias you regularly find on UOL.

There is quite a bit of difference between saying that “the current Government” stepped in to table the proceedings and that someone in some government agency may have interfered, or put the fix in, or whatever.

It’s like saying “Bush government involved in sex scandal” because some minor official at the Dept of Agriculture was caught deflowering sheep.

In Brazil, you have the State — with its armies of permanent civil servants engaged in constant Machiavellian turf wars on the public dime — and then you have the Government — the latest poor saps whom the voters have put in charge of appearing in all the photo opportunities, in order to make it look like there is a functioning democracy here.

Which there is, let it be said, but not yet a reasonably non-dysfunctional one in all cases.

There are still vast stretches of bureaucratic latifundio run by people whose attitude is, “governments come and governments go, but the hereditary fiefdoms of the State bureaucracy abideth forever.”

With that caveat, the substance of Folha’s story seems journalistically impeccable.

O secretário nacional de Justiça, Romeu Tuma Júnior, determinou a abertura de investigação interna para apurar se o banco Opportunity, de Daniel Dantas, foi favorecido em processos paralisados no DRCI (Departamento de Recuperação de Ativos e Cooperação Jurídica Internacional), órgão do Ministério da Justiça subordinado à secretaria.

National Justice Secretary Romeu Tuma Jr. ordered an internal probe to determine whether Opportunity, led by Daniel Dantas, received favorable treatment in proceedings that were effectively quashed inside the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Asset Recovery and International Law-Enforcement Cooperation (DRCI), for which Tuma is responsible.

O anúncio foi feito depois que a Folha procurou o secretário questionando dados sobre um processo engavetado no DRCI contra a instituição financeira, apesar das suspeitas de que o banco fizera remessas ilegais de brasileiros para paraísos fiscais.

The announcement came after the Folha asked the secretary for information on a proceeding against Opportunity that was archived in the DRCI, despite suspicions that the bank had made illegal fund transfers for Brazilian citizens into fiscal paradises.

A investigação contra o Opportunity foi paralisada na gestão de Antenor Madruga, hoje sócio de um dos principais advogados de Daniel Dantas, Francisco Müssnich, que é namorado da irmã do banqueiro, Verônica Dantas.

The investigation into Opportunity was quashed at a time when the department was led by Antenor Madruga, who is currently a partner in the offices of one of Dantas’ lead attorneys, Francisco Müssnich, the boyfriend of Dantas’ sister, Verônica.

Mixing business with pleasure — gemeineschaft and geselleschaft — seems to be a trademark of the Dantas Philosophy of Business as Hobbesian Guerrilla Warfare.

There was, for example, that ugly incident in which he tried to get Demarcos’ estranged wife to testify that Demarcos beat her …

Procurado pela Folha, Tuma Júnior informou que localizou o processo no arquivo do DRCI e que, por isso, ordenou a abertura de uma sindicância. “Realmente há um procedimento antigo, sem solução, arquivado irregularmente. Vamos instaurar um procedimento para apurar conseqüências, extensão e profundidade dos fatos.”

Sought for comment, Tuma Jr. said he found the case file in the archives of the DRCI and has ordered an internal investigation. “There really is an old case, unsolved, that was filed in an irregular fashion. We are going to investigate to determine the consequences, the scopoe, and the depth of these events.”

Any relation to THAT Romeu Tuma, you ask?

The former federal police chief and current senator from São Paulo — formerly for the PFL but now for the PTB — whose name appeared in the phony dossier, sourced to Dantas, that was published by Veja magazine?

Of course, you dummy: His son. Are you starting to get the idea? Public service is often a family business in Brazil — in part because it pays ridiculously well.

Exercise: Draw up a list of current Brazilian federal lawmakers with close relatives who are current or former lawmakers or other senior government officials.

You could start with Sarney, daughter and brother of Sarney, and Magalhães, son of Magalhães the son of Magalhães. Its like trying to decipher the boring parts of an Icelandic saga.

Alerta da CGU

Alert from the Federal Auditor

Em 2003, o ministério recebeu um comunicado da CGU (Controladoria Geral da União) alertando sobre a suposta existência de aplicações de brasileiros em um fundo aberto pelo Opportunity exclusivamente para não-residentes no Brasil (isentos de Imposto de Renda).

In 2003, the Justice Ministry received a memo from the federal controllers’s office (the CGU, a cabinet-level agency of the federal executive) warning of possible investments by Brazilians in a tax-exempt fund opened by Opportunity in which Brazilian citizens and Brazil-domiciled institutional investors were barred from investing.

O Opportunity Fund foi aberto nas ilhas Cayman, um paraíso fiscal. O caso foi repassado ao DRCI e, pouco depois, arquivado após um despacho de Madruga.

The Opportunity Fund was opened in the Caymans, a fiscal paradise. The case was forwarded to the DRCI, and not long after was archived after a [finding] by Madruga.

Ele comandou o DRCI desde a sua fundação, no início de 2004, até março de 2007. Poucos meses depois de deixar o ministério, tornou-se sócio do escritório Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão Advogados, que tem entre os seus fundadores Francisco Müssnich.

Madruga headed the DRCI from its founding in early 2004 until March 2007. A few months after leaving the ministry, he became a partner in the law firm of Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão, among whose founding partners is Francisco Müssnich.

Müssnich defendeu o Opportunity, entre outras causas, em processo na CVM (Comissão de Valores Mobiliários) que tratava exatamente do Opportunity Fund. Em setembro de 2004, a CVM decidiu multar, por unanimidade, o grupo Opportunity em R$ 480 mil.

Müssnich defended Opportunity, among other cases, in a proceeding by the securities regulator, the CVM, that dealt specifically with the Opportunity Fund. In September 2004, the CVM voted unanimously to fine the Opportunity Group R$480,000.

As penalidades foram aplicadas a Verônica Dantas, Dório Ferman (presidente do Opportunity) e a três empresas do grupo, por operações que teriam desrespeitado normas do Banco Central e a legislação fiscal. As multas foram canceladas após recurso interposto por Müssnich no Conselho de Recursos do Sistema Financeiro Nacional, o Conselhinho.

The penalties were applied to Verônica Dantas, Dório Ferman (presdident of Opportuniy) and three Opportunity subsidiaries over transactions that violated Central Bankk rules and Brazilian tax law. The fines were suspended after an appeal by Müssnich to the Appeals Council of the National Financial System.

On other CVM actions against Verônica, see also

A sindicância aberta na Secretaria Nacional de Justiça vai apurar de quem foi a responsabilidade pelo arquivamento da denúncia encaminhada pela CGU e se ele foi feito indevidamente. Se a apuração concluir que houve favorecimento ao Opportunity dentro do DRCI, o ministério poderá enviar uma representação criminal ao Ministério Público.

The international investigation opened by the National Justice Secretariat will try to discover who was responsible for archiving the charge forwarded by the CGU, and whether it was archived improperly.

The Secretary has just been quoted prejuding that issue.

If it concludes Dantas received undue favoritism, a criminal charge could be odged with the federal prosecutor.

O DRCI é o órgão do Ministério da Justiça responsável por firmar acordos de cooperação internacional e por tentar, entre outras funções, repatriar os recursos que deixaram o país ilegalmente.

The DRCI is an agency of the MiniJ that is responsible for international law enforcement cooperation agreements and attempting, among other things, to repatriate funds that have left Brazil illegally.

O processo na CVM foi aberto a partir de denúncias feitas pelo empresário Luiz Roberto Demarco, ex-sócio do Opportunity e adversário declarado de Daniel Dantas.

The case in the CVM was opened based on charges made by former Opportunity partner Luiz Roberto Demarco, an adversary of Dantas’.

Demarco informou à CVM que havia investido US$ 500 mil em vários subfundos do Opportunity Fund, em Cayman, em 1997. Ele também disse que o banco admitia brasileiros em aplicações criadas para residentes no exterior, desrespeitando a legislação brasileira. E entregou à CVM cópias de fac-símiles, e-mails e as planilhas das aplicações.

Demarco told the CVM he had invested R$500,000 in various subfunds of the Opportunity Fund, in the Caymans, in 1997. He also said the bank let Brazilians invest in funds created for foreign investors, in violation of Brazilian law. He gave the CVM faxes, e-mails and spreadsheets regarding these investments.

Em depoimento à comissão, a então funcionária do Opportunity Rosângela Browne confirmou que preencheu dois documentos de subscrição do fundo para Demarco “destinados à aplicação nos subfundos do Opportunity Fund Money Market e Brazilian Hedge”.

In testimony to the CVM, Opportunity employee Rosângela Browne said she filled out two subscription applications for the fund on Demarco’s behalf, “for the purpose of investing in the subfunds Opportunity Fund Money Market and Brazilian Hedge.”

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