Here is a news item I missed, from January 31st, bearing on the financial straits of carnival societies said to have been suddenly deprived of subsidies paid by wealthy, traditional patrons from the «jogo de bicho» gambling rackets.
Last week, Rio police assumed the delicate task of arresting high-ranking «bicho» bankers — a black-market lottery like the ones you read about in old-school gangster stories — without bringing negative publicity down on LIESA, the governing body of the competitive Carnaval parades.
The last I checked, liesa.globo.com continued to list three bicho bankers as honorary patrons. Since then, those names seem to have disappeared.
Source: Jornal O Globo.
Excerpt and Translation: C. Brayton
RIO – The state judicial police of Rio de Janeiro has launched a massive operation against the leadership of the numbers rackets in various locations in Rio, the Baixada Fluminense and Niterói.
The headquarters of LIESA — the League of Independent Samba Societies, in downtown Rio — was also targeted by investigators, just a week away from Carnaval.
State police internal affairs says the operation — dubbed Finger of God II — is a natural outgrowth of 2011’s Operation Finger of God and is tasked with serving 15 search and seizure warrants.
Investigators found and seized documents, computers, four pistols and an amount of cash in the houses of the suspects, among them Aílton Guimarães Jorge, aka «Captain» Guimarães.
The police also served search warrants at the headquarters of LIESA in downtown Rio.
The police arrived at the Captain’s home around 6 a.m. No one was home and the police were forced to summon three locksmiths in order to enter. Inside the Captain’s home in Niterói, a computer was found that will be subjected to forensic examination.
Police also found R$ 13,800 in cash and R$ 360,000 in checks at the home of Adilson Coutinho — an uncle of the bicho banker Hélio de Oliveira, aka Helinho, and a former president of the carnaval society Acadêmicos do Grande Rio. In 2011, during the first phase of Finger of God, police seized R$ 4 million from the same address in the Barra da Tijuca.
The fresh round of police raids was ordered after internal affairs studied documents seized in the first edition — which arrested 60 in December 2011 — and discovered the names of others involved in the black market lottery racket.
Police official Glaudiston Galeano of Coinpol says that Finger of God II targeted 30 new suspects, among them four state military police troopers.
— This operation is a new development in the original case. Document analysis led us to 30 new suspects of involvemet with the rackets. We called for these suspects to be remanded, but the state’s attorney argued that more evidence would first be necessary. The current operation is aimed at providing more robust evidence.
Amortization of vehicles used to pay off police
I had trouble with term carnê, which in context seems to refer to some sort of accounting ledger.
Galeano noted that four ledgers were found, related to the financing of four cars for the personal use of four military police. Galeano says these sorts of arrangement are a novel method of paying for the armed security of racketeers.
— These accounting books could be a new way of paying off police who serve as armed security. The mechanism is said to be a method for getting around the need to pay off face to face, in cash, thereby avoiding visual and audio surveillance.
The cars are financed in 60 installments in the name of the police officers and is paid each month by the bicho racket. Galeano chose not to answer when asked about the identifty of the four PMs.
At LIESA, computers, pen-drives and documents were apprehended.
LIESA Not A Target
Galeano says that LIESA is not an investigation target, but that it could provide evidence tying new suspects to the numbers racket.
— Liesa is not a target, but in the past it has seen its own employees arrested in other operations against the numbers rackets. We went there to serve a search warrant that might provide us with information about the 30 new suspects. We took pains not to reflect badly on Carnaval. What we are after are the racketeers.
The operation, which involved 90 agents and 12 senior agents … did not lead to any arrests.
Bicheiro received politicians at his home
Condemned racketeers corrupted public agents and financed political campaigns.
Court jails racketeers found guilty in the wake of Operation Hurricane.
Three major Rio racketeers were found guilty in December of last year.
At the time, juíza Ana Paula Vieira de Carvalho … sentenced Ailton Guimarães Jorge, o Capitão Guimarães, a former president of Liesa; Aniz Abrahão David, aka Anísio da Beija-flor; and Antonio Petrus Kalil, «The Big Turk», to 47 years and 9 months in prison, remarking that the three men command a criminal conspiracy with hundreds of members. Anísio, who suffers from poor health, is serving his time under house arrest in his Copacabana apartment. The Big Turk and Guimarães are fugitives.
In her sentence, the judge emphasized the corruption of numerous civil servants — police and judges among them — and also financed political campaigns at the estate and federal level.
— The degree of organization of this criminal conspiracy is impressive. It even maintains offices exclusively dedicated to paying and receiving bribes, the judge wrote.
In addition to the three top bicho bankers — whom the judge referred to as the Club Baron de Drummond — the judge sentenced 19 others, among them business owners, attorneys and federal police agents. Sentences run from 2 to 40 years for the crimes of conspiracy and corruption.
Wálter Fanganiello Maierovitch explains the origin of the judge’s allusion in the course of a pocket history of mafia-style criminal organizations in Brazil.
Under orders from Antonino Salomone, the right-hand man of Castor de Andrade — both of them now deceased — the bicho banks of Rio, like the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, created an executive-level commission to see to the good governance of the industry as a whole. This high-level commission is known as the Clube Barão de Drummond. This early 19th Century baron invented the «animals game» as a way to raise funds to maintain the zoological gardens in Vila Isabel, which he had established before it lost its funding after the Proclamation of the Republic.
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