• Pages

  • Marginalia

  • Accumulations

Siemens and the Furnas List

FURNAS

The above image purports to be an exhaustive, notarized list of slush fund beneficiaries first discovered by Carta Capital magazine in 2006.

The scheme has a Mexican feel to it: vacuuming cash out of state-owned companies for partisan political purposes, an art perfected by “The Teacher,” Elba Esther Gordillo, queen of the national teachers union until her recent arrest.

The list contains the names of both beneficiaries and financiers in an otherwise off-the-books campaign finance scheme involving politicians of just about every persuasion imaginable.

I mention it because headlines are beginning to emerge that connect the dots and fill the lacunae in the saga of industrial-strength corruption in São Paulo and elsewhere in Brazil.

In this report, for example, a prosecutor talks on the record about the possibility that the São Paulo Metrô kickback scheme was also practiced in other markets — in Minas Gerais, for example.

Source: Rodrigo Lopes, Hoje em Dia | Viomundo

Prosecutor Andréa Bayão believes a clandestine kickback scheme functioned inside the Cardoso government.

Metrô cartel may have contributed to members of the Furnas List.

Federal prosecutor Andréa Bayão Ferreira accuses the ex-planning director of Furnas, Dimas Toledo, along with other business executives and politicians, of taking part in the “Furnas list,” a campaign slush fund that operated inside the state-owned company during the Cardoso federal administration.

The accusation is based on an arsenal of documents in the possession of the federal police and the tax authority, which … proves the existence of a “payola” scheme organized by Dimas inside the company.

The suspicion is that more than R$54 million was diverted through kickbacks funded by overbilled contracts, and that it fed the illegal campaign finance accounts of 153 politicians – Including the ex-governors of  São Paulo and  Minas Gerais.

In August 2006, federal police seized R$ 1.2 million … from the Bauru home of  Airton Antônio Daré, a partner in the firm of  Baruense Tecnologia e Serviço, which received R$ 500 million from Furnas between 2000 and 2005.

The prosecutor believes the scheme was paid for using overbilled contracts signed by the state-owned company with Toshiba do Brasil and JP Engenharia Ltda. These were contract, awarded without public bidding, to work on projects in Rio de Janeiro.

Alstom and Siemens

Alstom do Brasil and Siemens, accused of paying more than US$ 20 million in bribes to political parties, won several contracts with Furnas, and they appear on the so-called “Furnas list” as potential financiers of the scheme that funneled money to politicians.

Thermoelectrics

In 2011, Furnas closed US$ 270 million in contracts with  Toshiba for the construction of the São Gonçalo thermoelectric plane, along with  JP, and a contract worth  US$ 167 millions for the Campos plant.

To launder the slush fund cash that fueled the political campaign, Dimas set up five dummy corporations, in the names of his five children. These companies pretended to be supplying Furnas with consulting services. They were: BCE, Intertel, Compobrás, ECB, and Baruense. To allay suspicion, the five were subcontracted by Toshiba e JP.

In an interview with prosecutors,  Toshiba executives admitted paying a bribe to Furnas senior management. The administrative superintendent, José Csapo Talavera, said that up until 2004, the fictitious contracts with the dummy corporations were “heated up” using fraudulent invoices for fictional services rendered. The whole scheme was dedicated to laundering corruption money, given that no services were ever provided.

“In a meeting, I heard Dieckson Barbosa (a colleague) descibe how, in the contracts for the thermoelectrics, the sums to be paid by Furnas would have embedded in them percentages set aside for the payment of bribes to Furnas executives and politicians, using fake consulting contracts,” said Csapo Talavera.

Background

The List has been the subject of a Beckettian duel over the authenticty of the document and its contents.  If genuine, it would indicate the receipt of several million dollars by the Alckmin campaign flowing from abuse of the public treasury. The elections tribunal eventually approved his financial statements.

A U.S. document examiner with a Secret Service background — Larry F. Stewart (business site) — declared the document a fake in 2011, muddying the waters. He had once been charged with perjury and so was widely discredited by the local press — he had based his assessment on photocopies rather than the original documents, for example.

In his perjury trial — he was not found guilty — he was accused of having reported the results of a study he had not actually performed.

Veja magazine profiled Stewart as a hero of Western Civilization.