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Mexico | IBOPE and the Ratings Wars

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When global giant WPP acquired control over the Brazilian market research firm IBOPE in December of last year for an estimated R$ 200 million, I made a note to try and follow the move-out and the load-in of the newly hyphenated IBOPE//NetRatings.

First of all, the stake in IBOPE was acquired by Kantar, not directly by the enormous WPP.

 

WPP’s Kantar unit acquired a controlling stake in IBOPE to expand its presence in the global media and marketing research business. As Mediapost noted, “IBOPE is to Latin America what Nielsen is in the U.S.”

Correction: the new Brazilian entity is known as IBOPE Nielsen and consists of a former partnership dating back to 1998. Shades of Globo and Time-Life?

The final closing of the deal was reported last December 17.

What interests me is the triumvirate of WPP and IBOPE, the latter of which has received its share of criticism from clients in its own market, and, on the other hand, Nielsen. As it turns out, Nielsen has encountered extreme hostility on the part of its Mexican clients and competitors as well.

The W$J did a story on mounting tensions among the parties in March.

Here is a more recent report from W$J in PT-Br), picked up second hand. Continue reading

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Petrobras Faces U.S.-based Class Action

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Source Globo | Valor Econômico

Topic: A Roster of Class Action Warriors in the Petrobras Case

U.S. law firm Levi & Korsisnky has filed another class action suit against Petrobras in New York, accusing the company of failing to prevent corruption in its ranks and of having overvalued its assets in its fiscal reports.  This brings the number of law suits in U.S. courts to ten.

Continue reading

Deep Float | Petrobras Underwater, Fire

A napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

A back of the napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

Item.

There is curiosity today as to the identity of a “deep throat” witness in the Petrobras corruption megascandal.

One month after Operation Car Wash was carried out, in the middle of this year, a career public servant with 30 years of service approached federal agents in charge of the task force and denounced Petrobras for ignoring “signs of criminal behavior” and “intentional mismanagement” inside the state-run petroleum giant “in order to divert funds without awakening the suspicions of auditors and inspectors.”

Together with the acquisition of the Pasadena Refinery in the U.S. – the most emblematic of the charges involving the case — the witness named former Mines and Energy minister Edson Lobão as the “godfather” of one of the suspects and [alleged that] current Petrobras CEO Graça Foster was responsible for the nomination of two other senior executives in the foreign trade division, supposedly responsible for a sale of assets to Nigeria that had led to losses for the company.

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Was it a note with awful grammar from some General Nigeriano Ubuntu offering you a handsome sum for laundering some huge amount of cash through your account?

This is the Nigerian Third World Corruption scam. Purge it from your e-mail client. A variant is the wealthy but oppressed damsel in distress, for those more responsive to an emotional stimulus, and might be called the Rwandan Woman in Fear for her Life gambit.

During a four-hour closed session held on April 28 in Rio de Janeiro, – the transcript was appended to the Car Wash case file on Tuesday — the «informant», whose name will not be released during continuing investigations, described six cases of alleged criminal misconduct, chief among them the acquisition of  Pasadena, initiated in 2005. The deal, valued at US$ 359 million at the outset, wound up cost US$ 1,2 bilhão, causing Petrobras to suffer a US$ 793 million, according to the federal accounting tribunal (TCU).

[ … translation to come …]

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Alstom Case | Information “Round-Filed” For Years

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Source: Jornal do Brasil

Federal lawmakers file suit against former attorney-general Rodrigo de Grandis. The parliamentarians demand an explanation for the postponement of a request for assistance from Swiss prosecutors.

The explanation given so far: The documents were filed in the wrong envelope and then lost and forgotten. I kid you not.

Workers Party legislators are due to file suit with the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) this Friday against prosecutor Rodrigo De Grandis on the suspicion that he delayed acting on a request from Swiss authorities regarding the possible involvement of ranking Toucans — Social Democrats — in an international crime scheme. The collaborative effect was intended to examine the formation of a cartel involving Siemens and Alstom in contracts with the commuter railway, the Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM).

The petition comes with the signature of the leader of the PT benches in the lower house, José Guimarães (CE), as well as deputies Ricardo Berzoini (SP) and Edson Santos (RJ). In the document, they ask for a true explanation of the violations of legal principles that a preliminary probe has already revealed. The document requests that if the charges are true, then de Grandis should be held responsible for a crime of omission in the investigation of the the CPTM cartel.

The PT deputies want more information on the fact that de Grandis [literally] buried the case. Deputy Renato Simões (PT-SP) says de Grandis failed to live up to his duties as a prosecutor, disrupting an investigation and refusing to collaborate with the Swiss, an action that needs a better explanation.

This weekend, information published in the press indicates that Rodrigo de Grandis [“round-filed”] the case starting in 2010 — and not just this case. He dragged his feet in eight more cases despite repeated requests for cooperation from the Swiss. The Swiss agency MOP discovered financial transactions by the consultantsArthur Teixeira, Sérgio Teixeira and José Amaro Pinto Ramos, all three suspected of brokering bribes, as well as the  ex-director of the CPTM, João Roberto Zaniboni, suspected of having gotten away with R$ 18.4 million from Alstom.

Folha de S. Paulo and its publisher Otavio Frias were uncharacteristically harsh in a case in which it, too, might be said to have swept a few facts under the rug:

A harsh editorial in the Frias family newspaper, calls the excuse that the file requesting the assistance of Swiss prosecutors looking into a case that involves bribery and the social democratic party.

“No investigation work has been done, then. And the reason given for this act of omission defies the credibility of even the most naive of us. They say they the request from the Swiss was misfiled. Or so says the prosecutor responsible for the case in Brazil, Rodrigo de Grandis,” the editorial says. “Let us not just leave it at that so that the Toucan train can roll on to its all too familiar destination: impunity.”

The Minister of Justice, Cardozo, says de Grandis failed to take action as ordered on several occasions.

Uma nota oficial do Ministério da Justiça, divulgada na noite de ontem, joga por terra a alegação do procurador Rodrigo de Grandis e do Ministério Público de que também teria havido falhas do governo federal na cooperação com autoridades suíças em relação ao caso Alstom, empresa que distribuiu propinas a personagens ligados ao PSDB para obter contratos milionários nos setores de transporte e energia em São Paulo. A equipe de José Eduardo Cardozo esclareceu ainda que o procurador Rodrigo de Grandis foi alertado em diversas oportunidades para tomar providências. Leia abaixo:

Brasília, 1º/11/2013 – Em relação à nota da Procuradoria-Geral da República, o Ministério da Justiça esclarece que não houve qualquer falha na tramitação dos pedidos de cooperação oriundos da Suíça referentes ao denominado Caso Alstom.

Os mencionados pedidos de cooperação foram encaminhados, desde março de 2010, à então Assessoria de Cooperação Internacional da Procuradoria Geral da República (atual Secretaria de Cooperação Internacional). Ressalta-se que este procedimento ocorre com todo e qualquer pedido recebido de países estrangeiros pelo Departamento de Recuperação de Ativos e Cooperação Jurídica (DRCI) e são direcionados à Procuradoria Geral da República para cumprimento.

Os únicos ofícios que foram encaminhados somente ao Procurador da República, Rodrigo de Grandis, foram seis reiterações dos pedidos iniciais, como forma de cobrar o andamento do pedido, procedimento adotado pelo Departamento.

Considerando este cenário, não procede a informação de que haveria tido falha no envio do pedido.

Jose Dirceu accused de Grandis of politicizing the case

News of an internal investigation of de Grandis is in th papers today: the Folha, the Estadão and Valor. “Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with requests from Swiss authorities,” reads a subhed in the Folha. “Internal affairs wants to know why Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with the request for assistance from the Swiss in the Alstom case, read a headline in the Estadão.

No episódio comprova-se mais uma vez a seletividade do Ministério Público nas investigações. E da cobertura da imprensa, que habitualmente dá pouquíssimo espaço ao caso – e nenhum, quando envolve o procurador De Grandis. Já a palavra dele próprio, entrevista, etc… – nada. Habitualmente exibido e falador quando é para atacar a honra alheia, ele agora se esconde da mídia.

Tampouco sua “distração” em relação ao pedido da Suíça, à investigação, motiva menções nos jornais a nomes de políticos e governadores tucanos em cujas administrações se formou o conluio em torno do cartel. Já quando os casos envolvem o PT o nome do partido e de seus integrantes vai para as manchetes, títulos, legendas, chamadas, textos – vai em tudo.

Debt and Taxes | Shakedown at City Hall

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Source: Terra Brasil

There is some initial confusion as other news services speak of R$ 500 million.

Four civil servants of the São Paulo city government were arrested this morning during a joint action by the state Public Ministry (PM) and the Comptroller-General of the Municipality. Among those detained were persons with ties to the Undersecretary of Revenue during the administration of Gilberto Kassab (PSD):  an undersecretary, two former directors, and a fiscal examiner.

The MP-SP says that the four were members of an enormous corruption scheme that caused estimated damages to the public coffers in the last three months alone. The four are all being investigated for crimes of corruption, money laundering, advocating in the private interest of self or others, and criminal conspiracy.

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Globo | Philanthropy = Pilantropia

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Source: DoLaDoDeLá |  Diario do Centro do Mundo (Paulo Nogueira)

Topic: Pilantropia

Derived from the term “phIlantropy” and associated with dishonest acts by persons who are pilantras —  low-down liars and shameless villains.

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Commuter Rail | The Curse of Current Contracts

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Source:  Diário do Centro do Mundo, with an “exclusive” on alleged bid rigging in recent contracts on the CPTM — the Sambodian Metro North.

Cartel formation in subway contracts has yielded most of the headlines so far, which almost unanimously focus on the São Paulo cases, whereas Brasília and Rio may also have experienced similar bid rigging and the federal government may have footed part of the bill.

The Folha de S. Paulo for example timidly suggests — in a story buried on p. A9 — that the antitrust agency is following leads that suggest the operation of the same, or related, cartels in five other major cities: Cuiabá, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Continue reading