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Edu Guimarães | Globo Gets It Right



The day the Jornal Nacional — Globo’s primetime news hour — forgot itself and did itself proud.

Source: Blog da Cidadania | byEduardo Guimarães.

The news behind the news. The fact that yesterday’s Jornal Nacional aired  a report of nearly eight minutes in duration on the scandals involving the PSDB of São Paulo was more important than the content of the report itself. Those who follow political news already knew all the detailsfrom the press, the radio or the Internet.

Below, the report narrated by Willian Bonner and Patrícia Poeta in what might be the longest and most politically uncomfortable report aired by the network since the PSDB came to power in 1995.  It is a long report, but if you did not have a chance to see it, you ought to at least read it, beause its content is as surprising as its extent.

I will return after reproducing a transcript of the report below.

Source: Jornal Nacional

Date: August  8, 2013

French firm suspected of bribing officials of PSDB governorships.

A French firm is suspected of payiing bribes to São Paulo state government officials in exchange for beneficial treatment during public auctions.

The case dates from 1998. 11 persons have been indicted, included former state secretaries from that era.

The payment of bribes allegedly occurred in order to facilitate a contract between Alstom and the EPTE — Energy Transmission Company of São Paulo, state-owned at the time..

According to a federal police inquiry, the energy company obtained credit from outside Brazil from French bank Societe Generale, in the amount of R$ 72.,7 million, in order to acquire equipment from the Alstom group.

The federal police point out that the contract for this significant credit was entered into without competition.  It was only possible because a Alstom mounted a bribery  scheme that paid off São Paulo civil servants in return for approval of the contract..

According the PF document, the bribery scheme used offshore persons and companies to receive funds from Alstom “which were then distributed to their beneficiary among civil servants of the State of São Paulo, during the first half of1998″.

At the time, the state was governed by Mário Covas of the PSDB. One of the accounts, according to the PF, belonged to Jorge Fagali Neto. The PF says that at the time, Fagati was finance director of the postal service but enjoyed free access to the state secretaries.

The PF also says that Fagali took part in the distribution of cash to public agents, owned an undeclared offshore account, and he hid the origin of the money received using bribes paid in other countries.  It was for this he was indicted.

Another offshore company used to launder money was MCA Uruguay.

According to an August 8 report by the Estado de São Paulo, “MCA owner Romeu Pinto Junior confessed to the PF that he had intermediated the payment of bribes to São Paulo officials on the orders of Alstom and using MCA.

The PF claim that Andrea Matarazzo, in his capacity as Energy Secretary and board chairman of EPTE, was fully aware of all of these dealings.

The investigation cites testimony from the current EPTE chairman, Henrique Fingermann. Henrique said that Andrea Matarazzo know of all the procedures that led tothe signing of the credit agreement with Societe Generale.

THe PF says there are indications that Matarazzo tenha benefited personally, as did his  party, the PSDB, from undue advantages engineered by Alstom.

The police have used this fact to indict Matarazzo for bribe-taking (passive corruption). The PF also indicted two ex-secretaries and another 11 persons in August 2012.

The case was forwarded to the federal prosecutor — MPF — but went nowhere because the MPF believed more information was needed in order to proceed.

The attorney representing EPTE says he has not had access to the PF inquiry, and argues that the statute of limitations has run out.

“For that reason, my clients should apply for a writ of habeas corpus,” he said.

The MPF believes the statute of limitations on the money laundering charges has yet to expire.

Former São Paulos energy secretary Andréa Matarazzo, said it was absurd to link his name with supposed bribery.  He said that during his time as secretary, he had no knowledge of , never discussed and never signed any additive or contract among those investigated. Matarazzo says that the minutes of board meetings will prove what he is saying. Matarazzo added that he is indignant and repulsed by having his name involved.

According to ex–postal service director Jorge Fagali Neto, the MPF has never accused him of any criminal act and that he never interacted with any of the companies cited or signed contracts with Alston

MCA Uruguay and form EPTE chairman Henrique Fingermanncould not reached for comment.

In a note, the PSDB declared that it vehemently denies any attempt by “certain sectors” to involve it and its members, without proof, in corruption cases. . The PSDB added that it does not tolerate corruption and that expects the cases to be investigated and the guilty to be punished.

José Serra is cited in messages by directors of a company involved in the cartel.

The“Folha de São Paulo” today reported that  former São Paulo governador, José Serra, of the PSDB, was mentioned in an exchange of e-mails among Siemens execus —  The Folha said that one of the messages suggested that Serra seemed to favor an accord among the competitors in an auction to sell trains to the state, in order to avoid delays.  Serra denied behaving improperly and says that Siemens received no special treatment.

The Folha de S.Paulo today reproduces an e-mail sent March 28, 2008 Nelson Marchetti, a Siemens official, to colleagues at the company, among them the president of the firm for Brazil at the time, Adilson Primo.

The message relates a conversation he said he had with Governor Serra and his secretary of metropolitan transport, José Luiz Portella, during a conference held in Amsterdam.

The Jornal Nacional também had accesss to the same e-mail, which says: “I would like to confirm that I spoke with Mr. Serra and Mr. Portella in Amsterdam last week, when Serra confirmed that if the proposal by CAF were disqualified, the auction would be cancelled.

According to the Folha de São Paulo, at the time, Siemens was competing CAF in an open auction for a contract with the CPTM — Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos — for the purchase of railway cars. Siemens threatened to question the results of the auction in court if not victorious

In the message, the executive discusses the reason for an eventual cancellation of the auction.  “The basic reason for taking this position is the difference in price between the CAF proposal and ours.  Ours is 15% higher than the net price offered by CAF. This could pose a risk to the Serra government .”

The “Folha de São Paulo” says that ex-governor Serra suggested to Siemens an accord in order to head off a major lawsuit over the CPTM contract. In the e-mail of the Siemens executive, this proposal was quite detailed.. “They mentioned that they would consider purchasing something like 30% of the trains from Siemens. The Folha suggests that “they” refers to Serra and Portella.

José Serra issued a statement saying the results of the auction destroyed the market hegemony of certain companies. Serra said that Siemens was not subcontracted by CAF, which won the contract. That is to say, according toSerra, Siemens was not benefited. Serra says he went so far as to declare in public that if the auction was annuled, the second-place competitor would not receive the contract because of the difference in prices.  And that a new auction would be held.. José Serra says that the state of São Paulo entered into a legal dispute with Siemens to guarantee the contract won by the Spanish group.  The note is also signed byJosé Luiz Portella.

Siemens once again said it is cooperating with authorities, but that it cannot comment on investigations underway at CADE, the antitrust authority.

Wow! The segment was not quite equal to that nearly 20-minute segment the JN ran on the PT during the trial “monthy payola” case …  It can be said, however, that contrary to its usual methods,the JN presents a journalistically correct story that touches upon all the elements in the case, incuding its effects on the Toucans.  Or nearly correct …

Yes, but the JN has very little to offer that was not already printed early in the day by the Folha and Estado

It is clear that what weighs on Serra is not his having interfered in a public auction in favor of one bidder in order to “avoid delays.” It seems as though interfered in the process by  instructuring the competitors to “make adjustments,”to the point that he advised one group that its bid was 15% over the first-place bidder — this is illegal and subverts the very principle of fair competition, which should avoid entering into such “adjustments”such as this in order to obtain better prices for the public coffers.

Still, since there  is still no proof that this occurred,  here comes theJornal Nacional with Serra’s response, not making it clear that this is his own version of the story and conflicts with what investigations have discovered.

In sum, a it was not a bad report.. One can even foregive the caution used in naming names in the cause of of the assumption of innocence — which applies to politicians, too.

But something is missing here. Some of these facts have been known for some time now.. The Alstomscandal was a universal topic of headlines in 2008, and until yesterday, TV Globo had never treated the story with this much emphasis. Even in the major dailies at the time the story occupied very little space, unlike the headlines of recent days.

To say that a story of this extent is proportional to the gravity of the topic is partially true.  There are other reasons.

A scandal within the scandal are the 45 investigations arising from accusations againt the PSDB-SP that were archived by the politically compromised MPE, which only reactivated the case under pressure from abroad: European multinationals bribe politicians in countries other than Brazil, but only in Brazil are news of these cases minimized or ignored.

Like the Toucans, the maor media and the MPE-SP are responsible for the impunity of politcians who are not being charged with buying votes in Congress to approve bills of interest to the government, as in the “monthly payola,” but are robbing the public coffers for their own benefit.

But let us return to the matter of the press, for now.

The infinite  protection offered by Globo and its holding company to its corrupt friends is provoking a growing irritation in society, which is turning against the mainstrream media in general and which has even attacked Globo with violence, with the damage done to mobile broadcast units of various networks and the expulsion of Globo reporters from the demonstrations, as well as damage done to the company’s real property and premises.

In this light, the recently born “impartiality” embraced by Globo may well stem from the fear of having surpassed the limits as it witnessses the progressive degradation of its public image, including the matter of its tax crimes — a problem them that may some day put it in the same position the PSDB finds itself.

Recently, I wrote, in “Concealing the Scandals: Globo and PSDB-Siemens, that things  had gone too far.

As we have seen, Globo’s conversion to a practicioner of the sort of quality journalism we see in this case — it may not be of the highest quality but is at least a vast improvement over the artillery of hysteria the JN has directed at the left since 1989 — is no mere crisis of conscience.