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The Mafia of the Auditors, Part X

paulo maluf

O Capeta. Paulo Salim Maluf. Kassab was a close political ally to both Maluf and Celso Pitta

Source: G1

Representatives of the homebuilder Brookfield, cited in investigations into misappropriation of the city services tax during the Kassab regime, have confirmed in a statement to prosecutors that some R$ 4 million was paid to the group of civil servants arrested last Wednesday (28). The payment had been detected by prosecutors on the case.

Meanwhile (source: R7)

Corruption scheme undermines the political future of Kassab and his party, say experts

Political scientist says that effect could be similar to the “Mafia of the Auditors” case and its effect on former Sao Paulo mayors, Maluf and the late Celso Pitta.

Four senior officials in the Secretary of Finance during the Kassab administration were arrested on Wednesday, October 30.

The corruption scheme and misappropriation of at least R$ 200 million from the finance secretariat during the Kassab administration has left its mark on the PSD — a party created by the ex-mayor — and is likely to cause problems for the campaigns for state governor in 2014 and for future federal legislative elections. This is the diagnostic of political scientists interviewed by R7.

The statements by current mayor  Fernando Haddad on Thursday, to the effect that there must have been more people involved besides the four civil servants arrests, reinforces the blemish on the incipient PSD, explains Hilton Fernandes, a professor at FESP (Fundação Escola de Sociologia e Política) in São Paulo.

— This scandal with the auditors has the potential to weaken Kassab’s party just as earlier versions did to Pitta and Maluf in 2000, leading to the election of Marta Suplicy. It has enormous power to damage the PSD.

The PSD — a supporter of Dilma — is an offshoot of the DEM, formerly the PFL — an endless font of vitriol toward the left and known for the corruption of politicians like Antonio Carlos Magalhaes and Demosthenes Torres

And more. Mayor Haddad has said there is a lot that has not come to light. This because these activities only emerge at the right time,. that is, during an election year.

“This is one of S. Paulo’s greatest scandals,” said Haddad.

Translation in progress.

Yesterday, Haddad indicated that the four suspects should provide details and and “cast the net in deeper waters.” The Workers Party politician also said he would “summon the companies, because they owe us an explation of the conditions in which they engaged in this practice.”

USP political scientist Maria Tereza Sadeck reinforces the view of her colleague from FESP about the hit Kassab and his party will take at the voting machine. She recogizes, however, the need to await the evolution of the case before pointing to any ties between the conspiracy and persons close to the ex-mayor.

— It hurts their image, but by how much I cannot say. It depends on the development of the case. Kassab has said he was not the one who hired the persons involved, and this makes him want to investigate further. A lot will depend on the  unfolding of the facts. […] It is difficult to predict what will happen next. A lot of things could still turn up.

Understand the Case

Early this year, with the creation of the municipal Comptroller-General (CGM), the city government of S. Paulo began a data mining project in which the declaration of assets of civil servants is compared with their actual income.

It was this system that enabled authorities to determine the suspects were enriching themselves at the public’s expense.  A case was filed by the Public Ministry — through Gedec, the AML division, and  Gaeco, the organized crime division — with support from the city administration and the state judicial police. 

Investigations indicate the involvement of four career civil servants who stole at least R$ 200 million between October 2010 and January 2013, when three were fired from the commissions they received from ex-finance secretary Mauro Ricardo Costa. Taking into account the time the group was active — since 2007 — the losses could reach as high as R$ 500 million.

Em depoimento ao MP nesta quinta-feira (31), o ex-agente de fiscalização Luis Alexandre Cardoso Magalhães confessou o crime e disse que o esquema desviava cerca de R$ 250 mil por semana. O promotor do Gedec, Roberto Bodini, explicou detalhadamente como funcionava o esquema, de acordo com o que foi investigado até aqui.

— Ao final da obra, as incorporadoras submetem ao poder público as notas fiscais, para que sejam feitos os eventuais cálculos do resíduo do ISS [Imposto Sobre Serviços de Qualquer Natureza]. Essas notas fiscais eram recolhidas pelo departamento da prefeitura, operado por esses investigados, e eles faziam um cálculo, chegando a um número real ou irreal. Em cima desse número, eles exigiam que a empresa, ao invés de pagar ou recolher 100% da guia para a prefeitura, fizesse o pagamento de parte desse valor para uma empresa que foi constituída em nome de um dos fiscais e sua esposa na época, e em nome da prefeitura era recolhida uma ínfima quantia, perto do valor depositado para essa empresa [do fiscal].

As investigações continuam em andamento e não está descartado o envolvimento de outros servidores públicos no esquema de corrupção.