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Kassab & The Felonious Four

headsfolha

Source: Folha de S.Paulo

As though the political  prospects for his election in 2014 were not already dim enough, former Sao Paulo mayor Gilberto Kassab saw them sink even more with the publication of taped telephone intercepts of those accused in the Mafia of the ISS — a group of bureaucrats demanding bribes in return for their imprimatur on tax documents.

When the story broke a week ago, the corruption scheme had grown to impressive dimensions. It is estimated that the public coffers had lost at leat R$ 500 million in taxes that should have been collected from various companies, but which were not paid when four inspectors, whose job it was to collect the tax, barred the way.

These four, in exchange for big, juicy bribes, conducted themselves in a manner unbefitting their duty, relieving them part of the taxes owed. It is calculated that, since 2007, the group had earned as much as R% 80 million.

The Municipal Comptroller General, created by mayor Haddad, A Controladoria Geral do Município, órgão criado pelo prefeito Fernando Haddad (PT), did not much time to note the incompatibility of reported assets and their earnings as civil servants. Previous investigations, by the Ministério Público, led to prison sentences for the four.

Translation continues …

Because three of them were trusted aides, Kassab immediately found himself scorched by blowback from the episode, even though Haddad, his successor had repeatedly said there was no evidence of misconduct by elected officials.  

A week later, Kassab finds himself in blazing hell fire. Court-ordered wiretaps and obtained by the Folha contain potentially devastating conversations. 

“Call the secretary and the mayor, whom I used to work with. They were aware of everything” says Ronilson Bezerra Rodrigues, accused of leading the group, in a conservation with the chief of staff of the finance secretary from the previous government. There is no doubt  that “mayor” refers to Kassab.

On another recording, the terms are more explicit. An unidentified man says: “I hope Kassab wins the election for governor.” Tax inspector Luis Alexandre Magalhães agrees: “Yeah, me too, that way everyone does well.” Then the first voice laments: “But I really don’t think he will win.”

Transaction in progress …

Realistically, Kassab is in no condition to run for office in 2014. His plan is to strengthen his party, the PSD, and make sure the voters remember his face — an end game with little chance of success.

Altough the former mayor says the statements by civil servants, and despite the signs that the scheme was multipartisan, it will be difficult for Kassab disassociate his image from the scandal. 

Para que esse ponto seja esclarecido, bem como o eventual envolvimento de outros políticos, a investigação precisa avançar com a maior celeridade possível, sem recair no vício de transformar-se em arma de perseguição, ou preservação, partidária.

The Suicide Bomber

Source: iG

Former mayor Gilberto Kassab (PSD) said Friday in an interview with Rádio Estadão that the tax inspector Ronilson Rodrigues was trying to  “muddy the waters” by involving him in a scheme that diverted as much as R$ 500 million from the municipal service tax  (ISS) during his administration, in a legally approved phone tap.

Read more: Haddad the ISS mob may have defrauded property tax as well. 

“This information comes from people who know they are being monitored and are doing this to create confusion,” Kassab said. “They knew about this and they did they to muddy the waters. It is the reasoning of a child.”

The audio,which ran Wednesday on the Jornal Nacional, was a phone call from Ronilson Rodrigues to tax inspector Paula Sayuri Nagamati, and was recorded on September 18. The former assistance muncipal secretary of revenue  ex-subsecretário da Receita Municipal was irritated when whe saw her name published in the Official Diary with a summons to give evidence to the Comptroller-General.

Rodrigues diz a Paula que Kassab e o secretário municipal de Finanças, Mauro Ricardo, tinham ciência de tudo e que também deveriam ser ouvidos.

Mosaico Político: Kassab reclamou de Haddad para Dilma

Leia mais: Auditora fiscal que acusou secretário será exonerada

Kassab disse ter recebido a informação com muita “indignação” e defendeu seu ex-secretário. “Quero publicamente dar meu depoimento de admiração ao secretário Mauro Ricardo, que é uma pessoa correta, honesta, íntegra, eficiente. Ele também é vítima da ação dessa quadrilha”, afirmou.

O ex-prefeito citou que a investigação sobre o esquema iniciou-se no fim de sua gestão. “Essa denúncia surgiu na nossa gestão e nosso corregedor, doutor Edilson (Bomfim), iniciou o processo de investigação. A gestão acabou naturalmente e a controladoria deu continuidade às investigações”, completou.

Caso Aref

“Todos sabem que ao longo da nossa gestão tudo o que foi denunciado foi apurado”, disse Kassab, que fez questão de lembrar do envolvendo Hussein Aref, o ex-diretor de Aprovações da Secretaria Municipal de Habitação, que comprou mais de cem imóveis enquanto ocupou o cargo na Prefeitura e é alvo de ação por improbidade administrativa. “Quem não se lembra da quadrilha do Aref que foi desbaratada na nossa gestão?”, perguntou Kassab.

MP não descarta ouvir Kassab

O promotor Roberto Bodini, que investiga a fraude na Prefeitura de São Paulo, disse que não descarta a possibilidade de convocar o ex-prefeito Kassab e o então secretário de Finanças. “Nesse momento, não há nenhum indício contra o ex-prefeito e o ex-secretário, mas no decorrer das investigações, se necessário for, poderei ouvi-los”, disse Bodini.

Outra possibilidade é o Ministério Público (MP) interrogar Rodrigues. No grampo divulgado nessa quinta-feira, 7, no Jornal Nacional, da Rede Globo de Televisão, ele dizia que a investigação deveria chamar o ex-prefeito de São Paulo e o ex-secretário municipal de Finanças, pois eles tinham “ciência de tudo”. “Preciso perguntar para Ronilson o que ele quis dizer com ‘ciência’ e com ‘tudo'”, disse o promotor.

Prisão

Bodini disse que, por ora, não deve oferecer denúncia contra os três fiscais que ainda estão presos. Assim, ele não pedirá a prisão preventiva dos fiscais, que devem ser liberados à zero hora deste sábado (9). O MP, no entanto, pedirá à Justiça a retenção dos passaportes dos investigados.