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Dominion of the Fact | Feds Indict 10 in Alstom Case

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Source: Portal ClippingMP | Estado de S. Paulo

Federal police documents obtained by the Estado de S. Paulo illustrate the workings of an alleged bribery scheme involving the French firm Alstom, which is said to have paid bribes to São Paulo government officials. Two former state secretaries of the state-owned EPTE — the state energy transmission company — and Alstom executives were indicted. Swiss authorities froze  € 7.5 milhões million in an account in the name of Jorge Fagali Neto, former SP transportation secretary, and José Geraldo Villas Boas, owner of an offshore corporation accused of laundering money from the scheme.

… Two ex-secretaries, two directors of the EPTE (ex-Eletropaulo), consultants and Alstom executives — ten persons in all — were indicted by the federal police.

Swiss authorities froze € 7,5 milhões — money considered to be the fruit of bribery — in an account at the Banco Safdié in the name of Jorge Fagali Neto and José Geraldo Villas Boas. Fagali is a former secretary of metropolitan transport (1994, under Fleury), an ex-director of the postal serivce (1997) and an ex-director of higher learning at the Ministry of Education (2000-2003) during the federal administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Villas Boas is the owner of an offshore accused of laundering money from the scheme.

Though not a member of the São Paulo government at the time of the bribe payments (1998), Fagali, according to federal police, still exercised influence over contracts with the state government. The Alstom Affair allegedly had the same elements as the bribery scheme denounced by Siemens, in which Alstom also took part teria os mesmo ingredientes do que envolve o cartel metroferroviário denunciado pela Siemens, do qual a Alstom também faria parte.

Fagali was indicted fo criminal conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion. Another three public servants were accused of passive corruption — bribe-taking. They are: ex-Secretary of Energy and city councilmember  Andréa Matarazzo (PSDB), ex-president of the EPTE Eduardo José Bernini and the ex-financial director of Henrique Fingermann. Consultants and directors of Alstom were also accused of conspiracy, bribe-paying, tax evasion and money laundering.

The Estado sought out the accused for comment. Alstom said it had no comment. Matarazzo said there is no evidence to prove the accusation. Other public officials said they were innocent.

Dominion. The federal police applied the legal theory of “dominion of the fact” against Matarazzo. In justifying the indictment, police official  Milton Fornazari Junior wrote: “Matarazzo was Secretary of Energy and belonged to the party that governed São Paulo, for which reason it can be concluded that there existed a wealth of evidence that he had benefited, along with his party, from the undue advantages provided by Alstom.

This same theory was applied in the Supreme Court trial of the “payola of the PT” scheme.

According to the PF, the final beneficiaries of this corruption scheme were “civil servants during the first half of 1998,” during the Covas administration.

The probe began after documents regarding were found in the possession of Alstom  executives involving a R$ 72,7 milhões credit from the  Société Générale, underwritten by Fingermann, its financial director. Police say the money was unfrozen only “because the Alstom group … invented a scheme for the payment of undue advantages to São Paulo officials in exchange for the approval of a credit contract without a competitive bidding requirement.

The money was allegedly for the purchase of equipment for an energy substation. When these were delivered, the govenment had not yet even acquired the building that was to lodge the substation. 

The bribe money was supposedly paid through offshores in Uruguay. The PF pointed to four of these quatro: a MCA Uruguay, owned by Romeu Pinto Junior; Taldos Ltd, owned by José Geraldo Villas Boas;  Splendore Y Associados Desenvolvimento Econômico, owned by Jean Marie Lannelongue, and Andros Management Ltd, owned by Jean Pierre Charles Antoine Courtadon.

To justify the outlay, the scheme allegedly hired Brazilian consulting firms, among them  Ce-gelec Engenharia and  Acqua Lux Engenharia e Empreendimentos — the latter belonging to a businessman with ties to ex-State Secretary and State Tax Tribunal member Robson Marinho. 

As the owner of MCA, Romeu Pinto Junior confessed to the PF that he “served as a go-between in the payment of bribes to state officials at the behest of Alstom using MCA”. MCA is said to have used three accounts at UBP Zurich, one at Banco Audi of Luxemburg and another at the Bank Audi in New York. The consultant supposedly received R$ 40.1 million from Alstom  in 2000-2001 and 2005-2007. Villas Boas allegedly received R$ 2.65 mllion from Alstom betweem 2000 and 2002 “with no plausible explanation”. He is alleged to have made large cash withdrawals deposited by Alstom. Part of this money went to the Sanmoca Foundation, in Liechtenstein, and is registered under Account No. 230-566047 in Banco UBS Switzerland. He says he is innocent.

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Source: G1