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Policarpo, On His Oath? | Journo Wanted in RICO Probe

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The phony bribe-stuffed Swiss bank accounts cooked up and served by Veja magazine

I read it in Carta Maior: A congressional panel wants the federal attorney to probe relations among prominent members of the press, on one hand, and movers and shakers of the diversified, post-modern numbers racketeering sector, on the other.

Brasília – The rapporteur of the «CPMI of Charlie Waterfall», deputy Odair Cunha (PT-MG), will request that a subpoena be issued to journalist Policarpo Junior, chief of the Brasilia office of Veja magazine em Brasília, as part of the final report to be submitted today, 21 November 2012, in the Brazilian Senate.

The CPMI is a mixed parliamentary commission of inquiry. Charlie Waterfall is a numbers and gambling racketeer the depths and scope of whose influence are proving difficult to spelunk, although Goiás and Brasília should play a major role.

The Veja journalist is the subject of, or a participant in, a good deal of conversation recorded by the federal police in the case.

In an initial reading of the evidence currently available, it appears that Policarpo was often fed with microwave-ready scandal stories by and at the behest of Charlie Waterfall’s Vladimiro Montesinos, an ex-ABIN agent named Jairo Martins.

PT members on the panel argue that the documents analyzed during the 180-day term of the commission leave no doubts about the journalist’s involvement with the «Waterfall» criminal organization. “This is a  position we have taken from the very beginning,” says Dr. Rosinha (PT-PR), who presides the commission.

The question of issuing a subpoena to Policarpo has created constant friction among CPMI members. Submitted a number of times by PT lawmakers and Senator Fernando Collor de Mello (PTB-AL), the motion failed to receive a majority of the 32 votes on the panel.  The PT, PCdoB, PSB and PTB officially supported this position, but these parties only make up 11 of the votes on the commission.

Opposed to the subpoena, opposition members — PSDB, DEM and  PPS — obtained the support of the PDT and PMDB, which turned the tide in favor of the journalist.

In August, a study carried out by the Waterfall commission at the behest of  Dr. Rosinha found that the Veja editor not only used the Waterfall organization as a journalistic source but also requested favors from Waterfall’s RICO.

Pardon the Newspeak, but RICO = «racketeering-influenced corrupt organization» seems to define the issue ratherly neatly, and even makes for a bilingual pun.

Often, he would receive ready-made “journalism” serving Waterfall’s interests and feature it in the magazine a short time later.

“This study establishes that Policarpo maintained a personal relationship with the Waterfall RICO that went well beyond the source-reporter relationship. He owes Brazilians an explanation, yes he does, ” Dr. Rozinha said at the time.

The study did not confirm any direct participation by other Veja management or employees, including the Civita family, owner of the Abril Group. It did say, however, that stories published by the magazine directly served the interests of the criminal conspiracy.

The report was based on court-ordered wiretaps realized by the federal police in Operation Vegas and Operation Monte Carlo. In Monte Carlo alone, police recorded 42 calls between  Policarpo and members of the Waterfall RICO..

The journalist also faces accusations by Goiânia judge Alderico Rocha Santos, who said that Waterfall’s wife, Andressa Mendonça, tried to blackmail her in exchange for advantageous treatment for Waterfall, threatening her with a dossier that would allegedly compromise her.

Veja defended itself saying, among other things, that it does not compile, nor does it publish, dossiers.

Veja, Veja, as unbelievable as ever.

One example that comes to mind, for example, is the “bribe-stuffed Swiss bank account of Lula” gambit. Luis Nassif narrates the gambit with his usual candor and caution.

Veja’s partnership with investment banker  Daniel Dantas grew closer as 2006 drew to a close. The assortment of articles and dossiers, and especially the most outlandish. seem to have been furnished directly by the banker.

In its May 17, 2006 edition, Veja laid down a bolder bet.

Editor in chief Eurípedes Alcântara received a dossier from Dantas regarding supposed offshore bank accounts of senior government officials The same dossier was supplied to another member of the three musketeers + Dartagnan: Diogo Mainardi.

Assigned to track down the details was Márcio Aith, the same journalist who had covered the Kroll case for the Folha de S. Paulo.

At that point, Aith enjoyed a solid reputation among fellow investigative reporters, having worked at the Gazeta Mercantil and Folha de S. Paulo. He had an excellent knowledge of the capital markets, corporate earnings, macroeconomics and the like, and looked to be heading for a stellar career.

So Aith goes looking for evidence to support the dossier, and quickly finds out that it is a forgery. This in itself would make a good story.

The original dossier was prepared by Frank Holder, ex-CIA and a Latin America specialist who left government service to set up his own shop — Holder Associates – a business later acquired by Kroll.

Aith went looking for Holder in Switzerland. Holder told him that the list was the fruit of an Italian investigation into the Brazilian part of the Parmalat scandal. Aith tracked down Italian police officials in Milan, but they said they knew nothing of the matter.

Holder then changed his tune, saying that the dossier was prepared by the Argentine José Luiz Manzano, a former minister and, according to Aith, a living symbol of the corruption of the  Menen regime.

Aith tracked down Manzano, who confirmed the authenticity of the dossier and ordered aides to collect more data. The resulting article material was full of inconsistencies. The article was a new Caymans Dossier.

The reference is to  elaborate, but on closer inspection clumsy attack on the PSDB and its leadership during the elections of 1998

Aith had enough info now to guarantee him an Esso

But there is a rule of journalism: When the sources is trying to fool the reporter, the reporter has the obligation to out him by name.  But Eurípedes resisted released the name of Dantes. There was internal debate. There was no way to get around Aith’s finding, but on the other hand, Eurípedes wanted to defend his ally.

Aith wound up giving in. On one hand, he admitted that Dantas was his source. But the efforts to spare Dantes and his reputation turned the article into a «pterodactyl» — an ugly creature, designed by committee.

Aith had committed the error of a lifetime in letting his byline go on the Swiss dossier story. …

The story began with the cover. The headline made no mention of the dossier or its lack of authenticity. On the contrary, the forgery was presented as though it were real:

“Daniel Dantas: banker and suicide-bomber. In his arsenal, the number of Lula’s supposed offshore bank account.

The headline made no sense at all. Aith’s investigations had turned up no such thing — in fact, he had found it to be a fraudulent document cooked up by Dantas.

But the “lead” was even more incredible:

“Daniel Dantas is preparing to open a new chapter in the investigations into the “criminal organization” that has taken over the government and caused so many problems for Brazil …

The lead paragraph, rather than featuring Aith’s scoop –the discovery of a phony dossier – said:

“On the floor of the Senate, Arthur Virgílio (PSDB-AM) revealed the contents of a document in which Banco Opportunity, controlled by Dantas, said it was being persecuted by the Lula government because he refused to pay bribes of tens of millions of dollars to the PT in 2002 and 2003.

Veja editorialized on several occasions in favor of this “political persecution” theory, which formed a cornerstone of the banker’s defense in Manhattan Federal Court against the Citigroup suit.

The letter, written by Dantas attorneys and filed with the New York court where the banker was being sued by Citigroup for fraud and negligence, is merely the beginning of a soap opera that, judging by the story of Dantas’ life, will be much more than a simple shakedown.”

And on and on it goes. Charlie Waterfall wants to promote a model of new school construction, so Veja cooks up a massive special issue on the subject, pure puff. Abril further consolidates the textbook business with Ática-Scipione and suddenly competitors are the target of campaigns accusing them of “communist indoctrination.”

I s**t you not. Unbelievable.

IstoÉ also finds itself criticized as a rent-a-byline disinformation pipeline