The daily Hoje em Dia of Bolo Horizonte sets out to out the competing Estado de Minas in a campaign espionage scandal rapidly going bad.
Some sleazy despachante in São Paulo had illegally obtained the tax data of the opposition candidate’s daughter, a Harvard-trained venture capitalist who specializes in e-commerce.
Veronica Serra has a seat on the board of Forbes magazine — the real one, back in the States — as well as an officer and director of an eBay-like network of sites, Mercado Livre/Libre, operating in Argentina and Brazil.
Daddy, also Harvard-trained — got to love that affirmative action policy for legacy admissions! – is a former federal health and planning minister elected mayor and governor of São Paulo in recent years.
This information broker told federal police he had been paid BRL 12.000 by a journalist from the Estado de Minas in return for presenting the forged papers in order to steal the data.
The campaign has attempted to lay the episode at the feet of the opposing campaign, but the journalist himself said he undertook the project on behalf of a partisan rival for the presidential nomination, as a defensive measure against a parallel scheme mounted by Serra supporter, a former federal policeman turned congressional deputy for Rio de Janeiro.
The rival, Minas governor Aécio Neves, denies knowledge of any such initiative.
The journalist was on a leave of absence from the paper while performing this investigation, but now its rival suggests it is lying when it claims it did not support the project financially.
At no time during the entire incident has anyone even remotely suggested that Veronica’s tax returns were in any way suspect, that I know of, by the way.
There was an actually an interesting incident in the papers from around the time of Daddy’s inauguration as governor that suggests a conscientious avoidance of such things: Veronica reportedly quit a job or divested an asset to avoid a potential conflict of interest, I forget.
It is good to see the free and open marketplace of ideas functioning properly..
The Estado de Minas newspaper paid the airfare of journalist Amaury Ribeiro Jr., who hires someone to violate the financial privacy of opposition figures. In a statement to the federal police, the journalist said he officially stopped working at the paper on 16 October, after taking 30 days of vacation time. The data theft occurred between 29 September and 8 October. The airfares were sold to the newspaper by the travel agency Primus, the paper’s regular supplier.
According to the federal police case file, a statement by the travel agency confirms that the EDM only paid travel expenses for Amaury through July of last year. Starting in September, the travel vouchers, including those issued during the period the data was stolen, were billed in the name of Marcelo Augusto de Oliveira, an ESM employee who still works at the paper. Eighteen airline tickets were issued for Amaury’s use in this employee’s name, the last dated 22 December 2009.
I note such cases (a) to embarrass sleazy local journalists who insult my intelligence, in Portuguese, and (b) to mine for airport-newsstand paperback thriller plots.