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Taking Out A Contract | Waterfall’s São Paulo Dealings

The oppositionist Diário de Manhã  warns Brazilian federal deputies in the government alliance that an investigation of crooked contracting practices in the «Waterfall» case might also hurt the ruling PT and the allied PMDB.

Recently read:

Leandro Fortes, “Cachoeira leaves fingerprints on São Paulo,” Carta Capital(Brazil), 19 September 2012.

I translate a passage or two.

 Technical experts working for the federal parliamentary inquiry into mob boss and lobbyist Carlinhos Cachoeira have just finished a complete survey of all contracts signed by the São Paulo state and municipal governments and Delta, a private contractor linked to the criminal organization headed by the numbers racketeer.

Linked how? That’s the interesting question. Leandro Fortes calls him a “silent partner” of and lobbyist for the engineering firm, one of the largest in Brazil.

In an intriguing sidelight, the scheme apparently used journalists, both witting and unwitting, to smear, with screaming headlines, rivals and government officials standing in the way of its interests . Fortes cites past negotiations over a report that ran in Globo’s Época magazine, for example:

The revelation of a relationship between Globo and its magazine and the group headed by the numbers boss comes just as Leonardo Gagno, the attorney for Cachoeira right-hand man and black bag operator Dadá, told the congressional commission that Dadá and his colleague were tasked with “feeding stories to the news media,” and that “Cachoeira’s interest in using [information warfare] as a part of doing business was well-known by everyone.”

«informações» = information, intelligence, counterintelligence

But back to CartaCapital and Leandro.

The alleged scheme involves sums in excess of R$ 1.2 billion. The results of the study reveal the relationship of PSDB governments with the parent organization of the Cachoeira conspiracy and cast suspicion on seven-figure contracts negotiated by the Kassab municipal government in São Paulo, supposedly influenced by the former DEM senator for Goias, Demóstenes Torres.

Kassab was a member of the DEM until a year or so ago when he jumped ship to the newly founded PSD.

Delta received the contract for the urban renewal of the Paraisópolis shantytown under the Kassab government.

The project is being used as a model urban renewal project in TV inserts for mayoral candidate José Serra.

The indefatigable Paulo Preto puts in an appearance as well. A federal police telephone wiretap conducted during Operation Monte Carlo captured a conversation between Cachoeira and Cláudio Abreu, Delta’s regional director for the Brazilian Center-West, in which th two men discuss Delta’s contracts with the São Paulo city government.

Dated January 31, 2012, the wiretap captures the numbers and bingo boss asking Abreu about a conversation between Delta’s former CEO, Fernando Cavendish and Mayor Kassab about an as yet unidentified contract.

The Delta director makes a revelation: As a favor to Senator Torres, São Paulo’s mayor supposedly tripled the value of the unidentified contract. The converation runs as follows, transcribed from an audio file to which CartaCapital had access:

— Carlinhos Cachoeira: One other thing, Cláudio, Did you speak to Fernando (Cavendish) about that thing with Kassab?

— Cláudio Abreu: … I am going to meet with him later, I am going over there to give him an answer. But tell me, what’s the deal over there? The contract, right? He did the thing, didn’t he? He did it for the Professor (Demóstenes Torres), right?

— Cachoeira: He (Kassab) said he tripled the contract for him (Demóstenes).

An analysis conducted by the CPI indicates that São Paulo city hall signed three contracts with Delta between 2004 and 2012, worth a total of 307.6 million.

A contract with the Companhia de Limpeza Urbana (Comlurb) – street sweeping and garbage collection — was worth R$ 93.7 million. A contract for the urban renewal of the Paraisópolis shantytown, signed with the city housing authority, was worth R$ 15.4 million. A contract with São Paulo Transporte S.A. (SPTrans) — public transportation — was worth R$ 12.2 million.

Given the timeframe of the police surveillance, it is not yet possible to detect exactly which of the contracts was allegedly tripled, since all three were continued into 2012.

City hall spokesman Emerson Figueiredo said that Mayor Kassab “is unaware of this dialogue and its supposed protagonists and considers its content groundless.”

Relations between Delta and the São Paulo state government involve larger sums, totaling R$ 943 million in today’s reais. The contracts were signed under state governors José Serra (R$ 765 million) and Geraldo Alckmin (R$ 178 million) between 2002 and 2012. The deals were signed at the instance of five state-owned firms: Dersa and DER (highways), Daee (hydroelectric power), Sabesp (water and sewage treatment), and Unicamp (state university).

The most significant project for which the state contracted Delta was as part of the New Tiete Consortium, which undertook to broaden the Tiete beltway for R$ 150 million. The contract ran from June 22, 2009 to April 10, 2012. Based on an analysis of the transfer of consortium funds to Delta’s accounts, the CPI’s technicians concluded that the companies involved have no controls over the allocation of credits and debits to consortium members. In this way, one firm may subcontract another and pay it the entire amount due for the service. Using this subterfuge, and based on the padding of invoices or  falsification of receipts for services rendered, the difference can be returned to the subcontractor with absolutely no oversight or disclosure.

Delta may have mounted a money laundering scheme using such bureaucratic subterfuges. The experts also noted that Delta’s subcontractors enter into contracts with one another … and transfer funds to one another without accounting for the sums transferred.

The congressional inquiry into São Paulo public works contracts coincides with the results of an earlier survey by Conceição Lemes, of the Web log Viomundo, based on data from the Transparência São Paulo Web log, which specializes in the analyis of public spending.

Based on this information, it was possible to detect that the contract with Dersa with respect to the Tiete project (R$ 415 million) was signed by Paulo Vieira de Souza, aka «Paulo Preto», Dersa’s director of engineering until April 2010, and by Dersa CEO and superintendent Delson Amador.

With intimate ties to the PSDB — social democrats — «Black Paulo» was reputedly a fundraiser for party election campaigns and at one point was accused of making off with R$ 4 million supposedly earmarked for the Serra for President campaign.

Black Paulo and Amador also figure in the federal police Operation Sandcastle in which executives of public works contractor Camargo Corrêa were accused of mounting a bribery scheme in public works projects.

In 1997, when Andrea Matarazzo of the PSDB presided over the company, Delson Amador was named CEO of the state-owned electric company (Cesp),which was later privatized.

He was responsible for auditing public works projects involving Camargo Corrêa, such as the Porto Primavera generation plant and the Ponte Pauliceia, a bridge over the Paraná River linking Pauliceia, São Paulo and Brasilândia, Mato Grosso do Sul. Amador was Matarazzo’s chief of staff when Matarazzo headed the Sé subprefecture in metro São Paulo.

A certificate issued by the São Paulo Junta Comercial – the corporations registry – indicates that Heraldo Puccini Neto, Delta’s regional director for São Paulo and the Brazilian South, is also the legal representative of the Nova Tietê consortium.

Federal police wiretaps show that Puccini is one of the closest confidants of Carlinhos Cachoeira. Documents from federal police Operation Monte Carlo point to to Puccini as one of the persons used by the scheme to prepare bids for public works projects.