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Lies, Damned Lies, and Veja-El Clarín

Source: Brasil247

Translation: C.E.B.

On May 30, 2015, the Brazilian newsweekly Veja accused Máximo Kirchner, son of president Cristina Kirchner, and ambassador Nilda Garré of maintaining offshore bank accounts.

The story was immediately picked up by the Argentine daily El Clarín, a principal opponent of the Kirchner government.

The problem: It was all a lie, as the very bank where the accounts were supposedly opened confirmed. Read an account of the incident by Marcelo Justo of Carta Maior.

Veja has embarked on these sorts of agitprop campaigns many times before. Consider the phony list of Swiss accounts of government, party and police officials, shown above. 

The story brutally fabricated by Veja and reproduced by Clarín was soon shattered into a thousand pieces. CNB, the bank in question, confirmed that neither Garré, Argetina’s representative  to the OAS, nor Cristina’s son had accounts at CNB or its precursoir, the Felton Bank of Delaware, a U.S. fiscal paradise.

In a letter to Garré, published this weekend by the Argentine newspaper Página 12, it was stated that “there exists no record of an account in your name at CNB or Felton.” Still, the enormous repercussions of the charge, which was echoed by Clarín (the Globo of Argentina), led to its multiplication in the world press, but was never sufficient to overcome the fragility of the evidence. Leonardo Coutinho of Veja cited as his source an “international specialist in finance” who gave no name and admitted that he had not verified the story “in an independent manner.”

On March 30, 2015, the Brazilian weekly Veja and the Grupo Clarín of Argentina reported that Garré and Maximo were co-owners of an account at the Felton Bank, opened in 2005 and with a balance of US$ 41 million. According to both publications, in a report riddled with contrary-to-fact conditionals, the money “may have come from Iran,” which “supposedly” paid these sums in return for lifting the warrant out for Iranians said to be responsible for the 1994 attack on the AMIA, a pro-Israel group, which resulted in 85 dea

The story brutally fabricated by Veja and reproduced by Clarín was soon shattered into a thousand pieces. CNB, the bank in question, confirmed that neither Garré, Argetina’s representative  to the OAS, nor Cristina’s son had accounts at CNB or its precursoir, the Felton Bank of Delaware, a U.S. fiscal paradise.

In a letter to Garré, published this weekend by the Argentine newspaper Página 12, it was stated that “there exists no record of an account in your name at CNB or Felton.” Still, the enormous repercussions of the charge, which was echoed by Clarín (the Globo of Argentina), led to its multiplication in the world press, but was never sufficient to overcome the fragility of the evidence. Leonardo Coutinho of Veja cited as his source an “international specialist in finance” who gave no name and admitted that he had not verified the story “in an independent manner.” In an attempt to provide more substance to the claim, Veja and Clarin provided a supposed account number: 00049852398325985

The enormous repercussions of the charge, which was echoed by Clarín (the Globo of Argentina), led to its multiplication in the world press, but was never sufficient to overcome the fragility of the evidence. Leonardo Coutinho of Veja cited as his source an “international specialist in finance” who gave no name and admitted that he had not verified the story “in an independent manner.”

Equally strange, if not more so, was that the Felton Bank, acquired by CNG in 2011, was a small institution with deposits of only US$ 71.8 million. It seemed highly unlikely that a single account would make up more than half the total deposits.

The story brutally fabricated by Veja and reproduced by Clarín was soon shattered into a thousand pieces. CNB, the bank in question, confirmed that neither Garré, Argetina’s representative  to the OAS, nor Cristina’s son had accounts at CNB or its precursoir, the Felton Bank of Delaware, a U.S. fiscal paradise.

In a letter to Garré, published this weekend by the Argentine newspaper Página 12, it was stated that “there exists no record of an account in your name at CNB or Felton.” Still, the enormous repercussions of the charge, which was echoed by Clarín (the Globo of Argentina), led to its multiplication in the world press, but was never sufficient to overcome the fragility of the evidence. Leonardo Coutinho of Veja cited as his source an “international specialist in finance” who gave no name and admitted that he had not verified the story “in an independent manner.”

But no matter: simply check with the FDIC, the federal government deposit insurance agency, to see whether an account such at that reported  by Veja really existed.

The FDIC only insures deposits up to US$ 250,000. In its official report, the FDIC indicates that 91% of the deposits in the Felton bank qualified for deposit insurance under these terms. Simple math indicates that only a total of US$ 6 million in accounts remain uninsured because they exceed the US$ 250,000 limit. There is no room for an account with a balance of US$ 41 million. As Máximo Kirchner said last week,” “It is all a big lie, carefully planned and executed. I have never — never, never — owned an offshore bank account.”

The supposed co-owner of the account, Nilda Garré, asked the CNB — first in a fax and later as part of a formal legal proceeding — that it issue a certificate reflecting whether she had ever had an account there. The bank’s response, signed by its vice president of audits, was unambiguous: “Dear Mrs. Garré, as per your request, we have reviewed our accounts and found no records of an account in your name either at Felton or at CNB,” wrote Cassandra Guy.

At the same time, the Veja-Clarín partnership attempted to connect an alleged million-dollar corruption scheme and the January death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman with the figures of Chávez and Iran. Veja quotes anonymous sources among supposed former Venezuelan government agents who build upon the accusation, saying the intimate relation between Garré and Chávez” would put “50 Tones of Grey” to shame and whose “ecstasies can be heard far and wide” …

The data presented by Veja and Clarín are as incongruous as the Felton account and the erotic fantasies regarding Hugo and the ambassador.

Their theory is that Iran had paid a multimillion dollar sum in 2005 in exchange for a memorandum published in January 2013 — a unique case of bribery [on the layaway plan]. Between one date and the other, both Nestor Kirchner and his wife and successor, Cristina, denounced Iran in the UN General Assembly for failure to investigate the AMIA affair. In 2007, a state of red alert was declared with respect to Iranian employees. None of this was taken into account by Veja-Clarín.

Neither Veja nor Clarín has displayed the common decency of publishing a correction. Corrections are not the style of either publication. When the Brazilian magazine published its first investigations of Garré, the Argentine civil servant formally demanded the right of reply, delivered in the form of a scathing letter. The magazine did not publish it. El Clarín did run the letter, but buried it below the fold of an inside page, in a space nearly invisible.

None of this matters now, because both publications have already achieved the objectives of their joint disinformation campaign. Veja and Clarín planted suspicions about the Kirchner government, one serving as an authoritative source for the other. In its articles, Clarín cites Veja, and Veja cites Clarín, and vice versa, in a vicious circle that fails to respect the principals of truth and professional ethics. The muckraking article was echoed and mirrored by the American Tea Party movement and by U.S. vulture funds as part of their long legal battle with Argentina. It is too much to expect that these organizations will respect the right of reply and correct the record …