The latest chapter in the endless saga of Daniel Dantas, the MIT-trained venture capitalist and allegedly Abramoffian lobbyist, who partnered with Citibank in the late 1990s on Brazilian telecom privatization deals until Citi dissolved its ties with his investment bank, Opportunity, in 2005.
Defense attornies for investment banker Daniel Dantas are appealing the Supreme Court decision that assigned to a São Paulo federal court the investigation into whether the Opportunity Group, headed by Dantas, also used advertising executive Marcos Valério de Souza to funnel bribe money or illegal donations to the PT.
More accurately, to the PT and previously also to the PSDB, in the case of a guerilla lobbying campaign during the privatization of the telecoms sector in the late 1990s.
The division of the case into separate proceedings against various defendants was ordered in August by Supreme Court justice Joaquim Barbosa as part of a judicial investigation opened in 2006 targeting facts and defendants not included in the trial of the «big monthly payola» case.
I cannot for the life of me understand why one case — the so-called Valerioduto, or “cash pipeline” — was tried jointly even as strikingly similar and directly related cases — the Valerioduto of Minas Gerais and others — have been sent back down to courts of the first instance.
Investigation results from the Supreme Court inquiry into Opportunity have been assigned to the 6th Federal Criminal Tribunal of São Paulo and to federal prosecutor Rodrigo de Grandis, who oversaw the federal police Operation Satyagraha.
The Satyagraha case led initially to a guilty verdict again Dantas and other Opportunity executives on charges of financial crimes and bribery, but the conviction was vacated by the federal appeals court, the STJ.
According to the STJ, agents of the Brazilian Inteligence Agency, ABIN, were illegally used in the investigation. The federal prosecutor has appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, but no date has been set in the matter.
In its motion before the STF, the Dantas defense calls for the case to be judged by the plenary session of the federal high court rather than the 6th Federal Tribunal in São Paulo.
“Should these cases continue to be conducted in separate proceedings, the defense moves that it be assigned to a federal court in Rio de Janeiro,” Opportunity said.
According to Opportunity, “the fact is that none of the examples cited of criminal conduct in the case arose in São Paulo, so that assigning the case to a São Paulo court violates the Criminal Code.”
Opportunity also stated that “it is not credible that Daniel Dantas would collaborate in financing the very government that actively persecuted him.”
In its motion to separate the cases, the federal attorney did not detail the reasoning behind its request to try the case in São Paulo.
It said it had found “elements suggesting that Brasil Telecom, Telemig Celular and Amazonia Celular, which belonged to Opportunity at the time, were directed by Daniel Dantas and played a role in the criminal scheme set up by Marcos Valério.”
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