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Call Center | The Return of Arruda


The press has focused closely on the formation of cartels in the S. Paulo subway and commuter rail systems, but has only mentioned, tangentially, a similar scheme in action in the Federal District.

It turns out that both schemes may have used the same call center company to launder proceeds of the scheme. I apologize for being such a bore on the subject, but these sorts of schemes have always interested me.

Source: GGN

This new chapter in the accusations of cartel formation in public works and rail transport in São Paulo, involving the names of ranking Toucans, has revived memories of the “Serra-Arruda connection” of 2008 and 2009.

The e-mails of former Siemens executives in the hands of antitrust agency CADE suggest that ex-governor José Serra of São Paulo and  José Roberto Arruda –- removed from office as governor of the federal district (GDF) in 2010 in the case of the “Payola of the DEM” — both had knowledge of cartel activity in the rail transport sector.

The close relationship between  Serra and Arruda went deeper than the Toucan’s plans for election to the Presidency in 2010, in which the ex-Democrata was often cited as a potential running mate for Serra.

The famous “vote for one bald guy and get another one free” ticket. 

In 2009, Durval Barbosa, ex-secretary of institutional relations of the GDF, testified to federal police that in 2008, information tech company CTIS Tecnologia S/A had mailed R$ 65,000 in cash to the secretary, using the Sedex overnight delivery service. It was explained that R$ 25,300 in cash was to go directly  to Arruda. The payments, according to Barbosa, were related to bribes paid to maintain contracts with the GDF.

The same company received money from the government of São Paulo during the Serra administration.  The company was responsible for the Educat Consortium, which won a  public auction  to rent 100,000 microcomputers to the government.

The contract , worth R$ 400 million and signed by CTIS  and the Education Development Fund (FDE) provided for the leasing of computers at a monthly cost of R$4,000 per unit for use in the project “Computers in the Schools.”

US$ 2,000 per year per machine!?

CTIS took in R$ 457 million in 2008  and another  R$ 609 million in  2009. Most of these funds  (80%) came from the public coffers of São Paulo state.

CTIS also maintained ties with the Treasury department of the GDF and Terracap, the Real Property Company of the GDF.

Gontijo e Paulo Preto

Another link between  Serra and Arruda is contractor José Celso Gontijo.

In 2010, during his presidential campaign, Serra received a donation of R$ 8.2 milllion from Ana Maria Baeta Valadares Gontijo, the contractor’s wife. The sum exceeded the legal limit, which is 10% of the annual income of private citizens.

The incident caught the attention of the federal tax authority. Gontijo, who was already involved in the “payola of the DEM,” was caught on video handing over blocks of bank notes to feed the scheme, and was now registered as proprietor of the company Call Tecnologia e Serviços LTDA.

Federal police say that the company was a financier of the scheme, transferring, between 2000 and 2010, a total of R$ 109,347,709.17.

One of the beneficiaries of bribes paid in this manner was Paulo Vieira de Souza, known as “Black Paulo” — a former fundraiser for Serra’s election campaigns in São Paulo.

Starting in 2006, during Serra ‘s term as mayor, Call Tecnologia – aka Call Contact Center –, which belonged to  José Celso Gontijo, began managing calls from citizens requesting the services offered by the city government.

The company received a monthly sum of R$ 1.2 million – a total of R$ 30 million for two years of service. The contract was continued under Mayor Kassab. In 2009, Call Contact Center signed a new contract, this time with the state, at a time when Serra was governor and preparing his presidential run. .  The following year, the Toucan received the R$ 8.25 million from Gontijo’s wife.

Call Tecnologia continued to provides service to the state of São Paulo, now under governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB). Data from the state Diário Oficial  dated July 4, 2013,  show that the company continued to receive  R$ 192,922.80 per month.

The July 4 payment … is listed as the 63rd installment, which would make the sum paid by the state to this firm over the years some R$ 12,154,136.40 .

Arruda was caught up in the federal police operation Caixa de Pandora — Pandora’s Box — memorable for the bribe-taker who stuffed his socks with cash. He was impeached in 2010. The scheme reportedly dates back to the administration of his predecessor, Joaquim Roriz of the PMDB — much as the PT inherited the scheme that led to its “monthly payola” scandal.