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ISTOÉ Independente | The Marília Account


Source: ISTOÉ Independente

Here is some background information on the coverage IstoÉ has been providing of the Siemens scandal — bribe-paying and bid-rigging in huge public contract auctions.

This week, the newsweekly says it has identified what is allegedly a previously unknown slush-fund account.

The secret account of the bribery pipeline

Documents obtained from Swiss sources reveal that n account known as “Marília”, opened at the Multi Commercial Bank, in Geneva, processed million-dollar sums used to bribe public officials and to obtain undue advantages for Siemens and Alstom during the terms of three PSDB governors.

By Claudio Dantas Sequeira and Pedro Marcondes de Moura

In last week’s edition, ISTOÉ revealed that ranking authorities and civil servants participated in the formation of a cartel in the São Paulo Metrô,  distributed bribes and diverted funds to Toucan (PSDB) political campaigns, explaining its workings and detailing its relationships with PSDB state authorities in São Paulo.

| caption |This money was transferred through the  “Marília” account at the Leumi Private Bank, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Now, based on a pile of documents that the justice ministry obtained from Swiss authorities, …  it is possible to learn further details of what investigators say is one of the principal accounts feeding the PSDB “pipeline of bribers.”

Aocording to documents obtained exclusively by ISTOÉ, point to a previously unknown account, named Marília and residing at the Multi Commercial Bank, now known as Leumi Private Bank AG, bearing account number 18.626.

The account processed more than 20 million euros between 1998 and 2002, a sum equivalent to R$ 64 million. The funds flow through a complex financial circuit that includes offshores, investment managers and lobbyists.

A preliminary analysis of the activity in the Marília account suggests that Alstom and Siemens shared the same bribery scheme in order to win billion-dollar orders from successive PSDB state governments.

Sources at the Ministério Público (MP) say that one beneficiary of the funds in the secret account was Robson Marinho, a member of the state accounting tribunal (TCE) and a close confidant of  Governor Mário Covas. Also originating from Marília were funds paid to the accounts of Arthur Teixeira and José Geraldo Villas Boas, lobbyists who serve as intermediaries for the distribution of bribes paid to Toucans by the European multinationals.

The Link Between the Two Schemes

Identified with the PSDB, Arthur Teixeira, owner of  Uruguayan offshores no Uruguai, also received funds from  Marília.

Lobbyist Arthur Teixeira personifies the ties between the Alston and Siemens schemes. As ISTOÉ has revealed in a number of recent reports, based on the investigations underway, Teixeira and his late brother were responsible for founding two companies, Procint and Constech, as well as the offshores Leraway Consulting and Gantown Consulting, in Uruguay, for the sole purpose of intermediating the payment of commissions to civil servants and PSDB politicians.

Teixeira had privileged access to the state secretary of urban transport, Jurandir Fernandes, and to the ex-director of operations and head of maintenance at the commuter rail system CPTM ,José Luiz Lavorente, who was in charge of delivering the money.

Known until 2003 as Multi Commercial Bank, then as Safdié, and then, in 2012, as Leumi Private Bank AG, the bank has a long history of partnerships with Toucan governments.

Leumi is the child of a merger between these two predecessor banks.

In earlier investigations the MP had discovered an account at the bank in the names of Villas Boas and Jorge Fagali Neto, ex-secretary of metropolitan transport (1994, during the Fleury administration) and an ex-diretor of the postal service  (1997) , as well as a veteran of higher education projects under the federal education secretary (2000 a 2003)  during the reign of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Although we was not part of the S. Paulo government during one of the periods of bribe-paying activity, Fagali maintained his influence … with the PSDB. For this reason, he was indicted by the PF for criminal conspiracy, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Fagali Neto is a brother of José Jorge Fagali, who presided over the Metrô during the José Serra administration. José Jorge is accused by the MP and the TCE of fraudulent bidding practices and the signing of overbilled contracts as head of the Metrô.

| Caption | To investigators, the Marília account was used to manage assets of other accounts used to fund front companies and foundations.

Investigators say the Marília account functioned as a sort of “master account,” used to manage assets of other accounts, which were, in turn,  used finance front corporations and foundations, such as Hexagon Technical Company, Woler Consultants, Andros Management, Janus, Taltos, Splendore Associados, as well as the framiliar MCA Uruguay and the Lenobrig, Nilton e Andros foundations.

The MP requested, without success, that Swiss and French authorities freeze the  assets of the persons and corporations cited here. The same request was reiterated by the DRCI, but was not honored.  The investigation targets asked the STJ — a  senior federal court of appeals — to avoid similar actions in Brazil.

The MP had already revealed the existence of Orange (Laranja) Internacional the account managed by the MTB Bank of New York and  Kisser (Beijoqueiro) Investment, at the Audi Bank of Luxembourg.

As one journalist pointed out, laranja — orange — is underworld slang for front groups, cut-out intermediaries and shell corporations.

That is to say, Marília has become one more entry in the lexicon of PSDB corruption. We also know that the  cartel managed by Siemens and Alstom, accompanied by other public contractors and consultancies, commnicated by encoded e-mail.

Another of the beneficiaries of bribes originating from Switzerland, Geraldo Villas Boas maintained a joint account with Jorge Fagali Neto, who served in the Ministry of Education  (2000 a 2003) during the administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso

New data obtained by the Department of Asset Recovery and International Cooperation (DRCI)), an agency of the justice ministry, will fuel more thorough investigations in Brazil.

Along with the administrative proceedings brought by antitrust agency Cade regarding cartel formation in São Paulo and DF, another two confidential cases … have caught the attention of prosecutors looking into crimes against the financial system, money laundering and adrministrative improbity.

Along with the senior transport executives Lavorente and Fagali, the investigations include ex-Secretary of Energy and São Paulo city councilmember Andrea Matarazzo, based on contracts celebrated between the  energy generator Companhia de Energia de São Paulo (CESPE) and the energy transmission company  Empresa Paulista de Transmissão de Energia Elétrica S.A. (EPTE) (now known as CTEEP)

A document forward by the DRCI to the São Paulo state PM, at the request of prosecutor Silvio Marques, also reveals previously unknown bank records of Brench, German and Brazilian who participated in the bribery scheme in some say.

Among them are the French executives Michel Louis Mignot, Yves Barbier de La Serre, André Raymond Louis Botto, Patrick Ernest Morancy, Jean Pierre Antoine Courtadon and Jean Marcel Jackie Lannelongue and the Brazilians José Amaro Pinto Ramos, Sabino Indelicato and Luci Lopes Indelicato, together with the German Oskar Holenwger, who operated all over Latin America. In Venezuela, Holenwger is cited together with Mignot, La Serre, Morancy and Botto in an investigation into money laundering, undue appropriation, falsification of documents and alleged corruption of public officials from the energy sector.

According to the MP, TCE magistrate Robson Marinho (foto), a close political ally of the ex-governor Mário Covas, received money through the Marília account.

The support of French and Swiss officials has been hard to come by. Their collaboration is more recent than it appeared to be. The Brazilian justice secretary requested in 2008 that documents be shared — this at the height of the Siemens-Alstom scandal. His wish not granted. The French recalled that, in terms of a bilateral accord, it was necessary to notify the MPF that cooperation could only come about as a result of a judicial decision.  … Information sharing did not begin until December 2010.

Switzerland, in March 2010, requested cooperation from the Brazilians in an inquiry into accusations that part of the money involved in criminal transactions had been deposited in Swiss banks. The intitial information regarding MCA and Audi Bank of Luxembourg was received in 2011.

Also requested were selectivewitness interviews, addressed to the MPF-SP and PGR. At the sametime, the federal police created Investigation No. 0006881-06.2010.403.6181. It was until this July 25 that the Swiss prosecutor sent Brazilian colleages the banking records requested, based on a ruling known as “conclusive decree”, which was granted between June 14 and June  24. Baed on this, Switzerland has frozen close to 7.5 million euros in the accounts of Fagali andVillas Boas, in the Safdié Bank. This was a unilateral decision by the Swiss and the amount cited is not offcical: It was furnished by the justice ministry using an informal source.  Switzer land only permits the use of financial data  in criminal investigations.