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HSBC | Other People’s Scandals

clarin

Source: Luciano Martins Costa | Observatório da Imprensa

16/2/2015

Topic: “Someone else’s scandal” — why the Brazilian media is reticent to disclose names on lists discovered as part of  the HSBC investigation, which according to GGN journalist “Patricia Faerman is being “sat on” by journalist Fernando Rodrigues of UOL,

Among the most interesting of the few names that have been disclosed is that of the deceased banker Edmond Safra of the Brazilian Safra Bank — which remains a family conglomerate — and founder of the venerable conglomerate Republic Bank of New York.

Source: Luciano Martins Costa | Observatório da Imprensa

16/2/2015

Topic: “Someone else’s scandal” — why the Brazilian media is reticent to disclose names on lists discovered as part of  the HSBC investigation, which according to Patricia Faerman is being “sat on” by journalist Fernando Rodrigues of UOL,

Among the most interesting of the few names that have been disclosed is that of the deceased banker Edmond Safra of the Brazilian Safra Bank and founder in the venerable conglomerate Republic Bank of New York.

The data on what could be the largest fiscal scandal in the world is in the hands of a single journalist, who has made clear the conditions under which he would leak the information: that it must be of public interest. The interest of which public?

To be fair, Exame magazine has tried to parlay what is known into a list of “billionaires involved withholding information, received with exclusivity by the UOL Group.” A journalist associated with Luis Nassif scolds the ICIJ representative.

Faerman:

What are Brazilian news organizations afraid of revealing? If you suspect that among the 6,066 suspect accounts held by 8,667 Brazilian clients there are some surprising names, you are not wrong. We now know, for example, that the Argentine media group Clarín is on the list.

To give you an idea of the scope of the scandal, just consider the illegal accounts used to defraud the treasuries of dozens of countries, including politicians from the U.K., Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Lebanon, Tunisia, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, Venezuela, the Philippines and Algeria.

The list is an invaluable map for tracking money diverted by corrupt politicians, dictators, arms and diamond smugglers and drug traffickers.

The private bank through which all this money flowed was part of the conglomerate Republic Bank of New York (founded 1966), bought by the British group of banker Edmond Safra, a Jew of Lebanese origin, a naturalized Brazilian, and paterfamilias to the present-day conglomerate.

Safra died in December 1999, after the acquisition deal was sealed, in a fire set by two assailants that broke into his luxurious apartment in  Monte Carlo.* The details remains mysterious.

At the time, the newspapers reported that Safra Group had informed U.S. authorities that Republic Bank was being used by the Russian mafia to launder money.

The cast of characters included agents of the Israeli secret service, who trained their private security force, among other fascinating details, among them the allegation that thieves had come and gone in one of the most secure buildings in the capital of Monaco.

Asleep at the Switch

But none of this background interests the courageous Brazilian news media. The national media has shown not one iota of curiosity, for example, about the fact that Brazil ranks ninth on the list of the total aggregate sum Fernando Rodrigues found in suspect accounts: US$ 7 billion belonging to Brazilians and foreigners were discovered in the HSBC Private Bank.

Another dataoid: Brazil ranks fourth in the number of accounts, lagging behind the capital flight observable in Venezuela

The report by the ICIJ notes that not all the money listed is illegal, but authorities of various countries are examine the dealings of the bank. In Brazil, there is only one other blog exploring the Brazilian aspects of the case. Our press apparently views the affair as someone else’s scandal.

To be fair, Exame magazine has produced a (short but original) list of “billionaires involved in Swiss Leaks,” including such names as the Safra and Steinbruch families, and holdings such as CSN and Vicunha, And Eike Batista, whose prize Lamborghini is up for auction soon?
Faerman:

What are Brazilian news organizations afraid of revealing? If you suspect that among the 6,066 suspect accounts of 8,667 Brazilian clients there are some surprising names, you are not wrong. We now know, for example, that the Argentine media group Clarín is on the list.

To give you an idea of the scope of the scandal, just consider the illegal accounts used to defraud the treasuries of dozens of countries, including politicians from the U.K., Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Lebanon, Tunisia, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, Venezuela, the Philippines and Algeria.

The list is an invaluable map for tracking money diverted by corrupt politicians, dictators, arms and diamond smugglers and drug traffickers.

The private bank through which all this money flowed was part of the conglomerate Republic Bank of New York (founded 1966), bought by the British group of banker Edmond Safra, a Jew of Lebanese origin and a naturalized Brazilian.

Safra died in December 1999, after the acquisition deal was sealed, in a fire set by two assailants that broke into his luxurious apartment in  Monte Carlo.* The details were mysterious.

At the time, the newspapers reported that Safra Group had informed U.S. authorities that Republic Bank was being used by the Russian mafia to launder money.

The cast of characters included agents of the Israeli secret service, who trained their private security force, among other fascinating details, among them the allegation that thieves had come and gone in one of the most secure buildings in the capital of Monaco.

Asleep at the Switch

But none of this background interests the courageous Brazilian news media. The national media has shown not one iota of curiosity, for example, about the fact that Brazil ranks ninth on the list of the total amount of the money Fernando Rodrigues found in suspect accounts: US$ 7 billion belonging to Brazilians and foreigners were discovered in the HSBC Private Bank.

Another dataoid: Brazil ranks fourth in the number of accounts, lagging just behind the capital flight observable in Venezuela

The report by the ICIJ notes that not all the money listed is illegal, but authorities of various countries are examine the dealings of the bank. In Brazil, there is only one other blog exploring the Brazilian aspects of the case.” Our press apparently views the affair as someone else’s scandal.

Still, after reporting in his blog the importance of not invading the privacy of persons of good will, only  minutes later Fernando Rodrigues published another article with the first levy of names, although without evidence of wrongdoing in these accounts: currency-smugglers and public works contractors from the Car Wash case had secret accounts in Switzerland.
The data on Brazil suggest that  the largest tax-avoidance scheme in the world is in the hands of a single journalist, who has made it clear that information would be leaked only when it is in the “public interest” to do so. The interest of what public?

To be fair, Exame magazine has produced a list of «billionaires involved», but it is not much of a list — the cover was a teaser that did not deliver, and still withholds information received with exclusivity by the UOL Group.

The Nassif group, meanwhile, scolds the ICIJ representative and UOL columnist.