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Globo v. Record | The Wars of Religion

The Globo-Record schism: Opus Dei v. the theology of prosperity

The Globo-Record schism: Opus Dei v. the theology of prosperity

The latest on the story of Globo’s tax problems brings another factor into play: Globo’s rivalry with the Record network.

Source: Blog da Cidadania

In a note published [July ], Globo presented its version of the facts that led to an investigation and a fine by the federal tax authority in 2006. The explanation offered is laughable at best. More than merely  failing to explain itself, the broadcaster  closes with a threat to potential critics.

In the note, the Marinho dynasty tries to give the appearance of marginal legality to a transaction which amounted to tax evasion, money laundering and crimes against the financial system.

In practice, this means that instead of paying for the broadcast rights to the 2002 World Cup from an onshore account, it paid for them using an offshore account, thereby avoiding taxes in Brazil.

To make a long story short, Globo committed a financial crime by attempting to elude the tax authority. It’s as simple as that.

In the note in question, however, Globo states that it selected “a less onerous, more adequate moment to acquire the rights,” affirming that this conduct is “allowed by Brazilian law and available to every taxpayer.”

Bullshit. Such bullshit that when it saw that its dealings had been discovered, as Globo itself  admits , it abandoned the attempt to defend itself and agreed to pay what it owed through REFIS, the tax authority’s repatriation service.

REFIS is an automated collection system used to pay off tax debts.

This payment, however – if it in fact took place, since Globo refuses to release its DARF – does not automatically imply criminal responsibility for the attempted crime.

DARF is a record of taxes payable, or paid: It informs you whether the registrant’s debt is current or settled.

Still, Globo seems to have had quite a bit of “luck,” given the manner in which the case file on the incident disappeared from the files of the tax authority.

Declaring itself “surprised” by this development, Globo says it “collaborated with the authorities” by handing over copies of the stolen documents. In this way, it treated the disappearance of a case involving R$ 600 million as though such enormities were commonplace.

The tax authority employee who made off with the file was convicted criminally of inserting false data into the tax authority network, but was not jailed: She received a writ of habeas corpus from Supreme Court justice Gilmar Mendes — the justice known for issuing convenient habeas writs for defendants in financial crime cases.

Cristina Maris Meinick Ribeiro was sentenced to 4 years and 11 months for having “lost” the case file on Globo, which says it knows nothing about the matter.

At her sentencing, federal judge Fabrício Antônio Soares found that the woman entered the tax authority building in Rio and made off with the Globo file. Security camera images show her entering with an empty sack and leaving with a full one.

Besides the crime that favored Globo, the civil servant inserted false data into the tax authority’s system that benefited three other companies.  In just one of these cases, the cost to the public coffers was R$ 4.2 million.

In a situation like this, one would assume that the Marinho family would work hard to explain why someone who regularly defrauded or “disappeared” tax authority cases would be interested in their casse.  But no. Globo in its note, which explains nothing, chooses to threaten those who raise questions about what it calls this “peculiar” case.

Globo ends the note saying, “We will take all relevant legal recourse against any false accusation to which it is submitted.”

I immediately thought this might be a veiled threat against such blogs as Cafezinho (Miguel do Rosário), Viomundo (Luiz Carlos Azenha) and Escrevinhador (Rodrigo Vianna), the latter two of whom work for the rival Record  network.  A phone conversation I had on Wednesday, however, indicates another target.

What I was told was that a Globo is convinced that the ample time afforded to the Globo scandal — no other major media player was reporting the story — is due to the fact that Record is behind the allegations.

There’s more to the story. Globo, allegedly preparing its lawsuit against Record, is also preparing fresh accusations against the Universal Church and its rival network.

In the meantime, the authorities are silent.  The tax authority and federal prosecutor limit themselves to issuing press releases in the same neutral tone as Globo’s, exonerating themselves of responsibility for the conduct of the case and for the “freezing” of the case for almost seven years.

The wars of religion involving Globo and its nearest rival — Record’s approach to robbing Globo of audience is to present a highly similar visual experience with highly similar programming, but with a dramatically different news slant  —  are always  spectacular.

And politically fraught: Bishop Macedo of the Universal Church has armies of the faithful that have in the past been extremely useful to political parties and movements. It was not for nothing that Lula in the flesh graced the inauguration of Record’s national network.

For its part, Globo has the Opus Dei-aligned Ali Kamel — “the most intellectually dishonest public intellectual in the Southern Hemisphere” — as its grand champion.