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Globogato and the Suicide Bomber

Often, however, this effort runs aground on the  lack of experience in investigating a news story thoroughly and acurately, avoiding the risk of committing amateurish barrigas, making unsubstantiated claims, spreading false theories, or simply spreading runors in an irresonsible fashion.

A handful of bloggers have been building expectations of a dramatic break in a case involving the Globo network, black-market currency dealers, and the Virgin Islands.

According to DoLaDoDeLá, there is an homem-bomba — suicide bomber, or as we would say, whistleblower — in the case: a retired auditor with a grudge and a filing cabinet full of evidence for forensic accountants to mull over. The blogger continues to promise imminent disclosure. Stay tuned.

Globo was heavily fined in 2006 for evading tax on a transaction with FIFA over the broadcast rights to World Cup 2002

Targeted by death threats, a retired auditor promises to deliver to Congress, in the next several days, more than 10,000 volumes of original documents from the civil and criminal prosecutions of the Globo network for tax evasion, money laundering and crimes against the financial system.

The documents had disappeared from a tax authority office on the eve of the second round of the presidential election in 2006.

The disappearance of the case file was confirmed by a tax auditor who participated in the Globo case. Several months after  trying to extort money in exchange for the documents, an auditor in charge of the clean-up effort was assaulted and went into hiding. He now awaits in his hiding place for the right moment to wreak his vengeance on TV Globo.

In order to cover for the disappearace of the case file, the same source says he quickly prepared two cloned case files with different registration numbers than the original case, No. 18.470011261/2006-14. A senior tax authority official says that the copies disappeared after tax auditor Alberto Zile requested the filing of criminal charges against the  Marinho brothers, in addition to the civil complaint.

“If Globo doesn’t pay taxes, I won’t pay them either”

The point of this maneuver was to allow the statute of limitations of five years to run out. What is more, the civil case was riddled with errors in an intentional effort to get the case thrown out.

No one at the tax authority know where these cases have gone. None of them have yet appeared before a court. The same source says the cloned case files has done nothing to assuage the climate of panic at the tax authority.

This because all it takes is a search on the Treasury Web side — accessible by any citizen — to conclude that the original case left its fingerprints on its clones.

Worse, the cases lie dormant in the Tax Division in Rio. Globo did not even bother to appeal to the Conselho Nacional de Contribuintes — National Taxpayer Council. Had it done so, the appeal would appear in Comprot, a database of open cases.

The Virgin Suicide Bombers

The Marinho family has another reason to worry. The case also revealed the parent company’s clandestine operations in fiscal paradises. In this proceeding, for example, it is accused of using companies in the Virgin Islands to pay FIFA for the broadcast rights to World Cup 2002.

In other words, rathen than paying the sum legally through the Central Bank, Globo turned to a network of black market dollar traders led by Dario Messer — the same Messer who laundered money for Rodrigo Silveirinha and led the “mafia of the auditors” in 2003, after moving millions abroad.

The Messers — husband and wife — figured in a 2009 fraud case involving Ministry of Health auctions in 2005.

In 2005, the federal police took down two criminal organizations that were defrauding Ministry of Health auctions and public laboratories, including the requisition of inputs for the production of anti-AIDS medication. The accused will be charged with tax evasion, money laundering, the use of false documents and criminal conspiracy …

According to the federal prosecutor, the MPF, the crimes took in millions of dollars. According to the indictment, the crimes were conceived and executed by the offices of black-market dollar traders Chaim Henoch Zalcberg, Antônio Wanis Filho, Rosane Messer and Dario Messer, with the use of accounts in Switzerland and the USA.

A doleiro is

A person who converts currency in Brazil without legal authorization or who act beyond the scope of formal permission.

Let’s call them the “doillar men.”

The Dollar Men

Among the 21 defendants in the case are “dollar-men” investigated in other cases, such as Dario Messer, investigated in the so-called “precatório scandal” whose accounts were probed in the Banestado affair.

I am still searching for a good translation of the term precatório, which is apparently some kind of court-issued debt instrument:

Precatórios are formalized requisitions for payment of a fixed quantity superior to 60 minimum salaries per beneficiary, owed by the public treasury in the event of an adverse legal verdict.

Precatório is the instrument through which the judicial authority requisitions from the public treasury the payment of sums ordered paid by those found liable in a law suit.  Generally, it is a document through which the president of the Tribunal, at the request of the trial judge, determines the payment of debt by the federal union, state or municipality, by including the debit balance in the public treasury.

I can feel my eyes crossing. But returning to Messer:

In the final report of the Banestado CPI — parliamentary commission of inquiry — it was concluded that  Messer financed the founding of this company and used it to manage a number of accounts belonging to other “dollar-men” and deposited with Chase Manhattan, in the USA. This corporation was disbanded in the USA for involvement in money laundering. In Brazil, it was subject to federal police Operation Farol da Colina

The moniker is a bilingual pun, referring to an investment fund at the center of the scheme — Beacon Hill.

Rodrigo

In September 2007, Rodrigo Silveirinha was sentenced to 20 years in the case known as the propinoduto — the pipeline of bribes — in RIo de Janeiro.

The fraud practiced against  the Rio de Janeiro tax authority was discovered during investigations by Swiss prosecutors, who verified information regarded large, irregular deposits in Swiss banks. The European authorities notified the Brazilian federal police after identifying US$ 33.4 million deposited in accounts in the names of Rodrigo Silveirinha Corrêa, Hélio Lucena Ramos da Silva, Amauri Franklin Nogueira Filho, Carlos Eduardo Pereira Ramos, Rômulo Gonçalves, Lúcio Manoel Picanço dos Santos, Sérgio Jacome de Lucena, Ripoll Hamer Axel and Roberto Cavallieri Vommaro.

Silveirinha was a subsecretary of Tax Adminisation during the Garotinho governorship. The other names are state and federal tax auditors. The group was convicted of practicing extortion in the Rio  Treasury Secretariat — the so-called “bribe pipeline” — as well as for tax evasion and money laundering.

Globo has been relatively silent on the issue as rival Record has aired a number of strongly argued news segments in an attempt to scandalize the episode — see above. Several of the “dirty bloggers” pursuing the case are Record employees, it is interesting to note.

Master Class: Remaining Deaf to Rumor

The blog O Cafezinho — which has published public documents reflecting Globo’s compliance, or lack thereof,  with the sentence against it — has words of encouragement for amateur search engine jockeys excited by the prospect of getting the goods on the Silver Venus.

There has been a notable  effort by internauts and twitterers to clarify the Globopar tax evasion case, based on the whistle blowing of Miguel de Rosário’s blog O Cafezinho, who baptized the case Globogate (or Globogato, as reader Teo Ponciano suggests).

Often, however, this effort runs aground on the  lack of experience in investigating a news story thoroughly and acurately, avoiding the risk of committing amateurish barrigas, making unsubstantiated claims, spreading false theories, or simply spreading runors in an irresonsible fashion.

 

By way of example, I vividly recall the story of the death of a young Indian child at the hands of black market woodcutters in , which spread like wildfire. Writing for  Viomundo, I said caution was needed. First, confirm the story 100%. Then, start yelling.

It was pandemonium. Activists denounced me on Facebook and Twitter. Experienced journalists — who are still following the false trail — gave me a a real beating. Soninha Francine — the “journalist” Soninha! — gave me hell.

Afterwards, not  one of them took the trouble to apologize. The news item was never confirmed. No body was found, or anyone who had seen the body, or anyone who had witnessed the event firsthand. The insistent denial of FUNAI held up.

This is why it is important to have highly qualified professionals working on the cases of Cristina and Globogato.

TC is one of these: experienced and prize-winning, an Internet enthusiast, he is one of the best investigators I have known in my 40 years in the profession. It as TC who directed my attention, in the early evening of July 8, to the pages in the Official Diary regarding the firing of Cristina Maris Meinick Ribeiro for stealing the files in the Globopar case  from a tax authority ofice in Rio.

It was based on these — and only these — that we published our report, a few hours late because we had to perform the fact-checking first. This is an essential step if you want to act as a responsible journalist instead of just wandering aimlessly …

LL — let us call him that in order to preserve his anonymi8ty — knows the entire underworld of Rio de Janeiro. He is a public archives archaeologist. He knows people in politics, police, the prosecutor’s office, and the extinct but still active “intelligence community;” LL has two dozen prizes for investigative journalism. He likes to hang out, gossip with neighbors and doormen, search for documents, photograph, cross-check data and immerse himself in the underworld. He lives and breathes thisworld. The combination of LL with amateurs of the social networks is a deadly weapon!

Neither of these two — not LL, nor TC — is anxious. Both know that occupying the spotlight is the worst possible position for those who seek the truth.

[ … ]

I do not want to stand in the way of those who are ready to publish their findings … but all possibilities must be considered still open. DId Cristina act on here own? Was she carrying out the instruction of others? Did he intend to help or harm Globo? Was  she part of a group of extorsionists and blackmailers? Did this criminal conspiracy try to hit the Marinho brothers up for money, like information-age bandits? Was Cristina playing a political role? Was some accord reached, as Rodrigo Vianna suggests?

We can sure — based on the work of TC and LL — that Cristina was engaged in nebulous dealings. There are various cases against her, always for favoring indebted companies or companies with tax problems. Globo loses on this score, having been ordered to pay more than R$ 615 million. We also know that Cristina — after being arrested and then freed with a habeas corpus from the Supreme Court (Gilmar Mendes) — was retired by her boss “because of disability,”according to a document we received from TC …

[ …]

This is a soap opera, there is no denying. It presents a challenge for the internauts, for nosey people like Fernando Brito and Miguel do Rosário and for experienced pros, like those who are advising Viomundo: TC and LL, get to work!

Be patient. We will get eventually