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Amigos S.A. | The New Sheriff in Western Zone Shantytown


Col. Alexandre Fontenelle Ribeiro de Oliveira, CEO of the death-dealing COE

In September, Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary of Public Security (SSP) released something of a bombshell for Brazil crime analysts: the city’s infamous militia groups have expanded dramatically over the past decade. —Insight Crime

Source:  EL PAÍS (Brazil edition).

An item for my clipping file on the death-dealing police. WordPress is misbehaving at the moment, however, which is very frustrating.

The story translated here dates back to mid-September, with a fresh round of warrants in early November.

Continue reading

Deep Float | Petrobras Underwater, Fire

A napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

A back of the napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme


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.


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 …]

Continue reading

Car Wash | Big Brother Is Watching


Jean Wyllys, an openly gay Big Brother Brasil winner elected in 2010 to the federal congress by the PSOL, writing this week in CartaCapital.

In the Car Wash case, the major corruption schemes – constantly portrayed in the media as proof of the moral degradation of specific individuals and generally associated with the party in power – are shown for what they really are: a fundamental component of a sociopolitical system controlled not by corrupt civil servants but by the companies that corrupt them.

Nine such companies are currently under investigation: OAS, UTC, Queiroz Galvão, Odebrecht, Camargo Corrêa, Iesa, Galvão Engenharia, Mendes Junior, and Engevix. Altogether, they have R$ 59 billion in contracts with Petrobras.

In Rio de Janeiro alone, three companies  (OAS, Camargo Corrêa and Odebrecht) are participating as associates in various consortia building the ten largest public works for the World Cup and the Olympics (Subway Line 4, Maracanã, Parque Olímpico, Transcarioca, Transolímpica, Porto Maravilha etc.) at a cost of R$ 30 billion.

They have contracts with governments of nearly every stripe and color. Some have partnered with government in the privatization of airports and other PAC projects, and some are working on the São Paulo subway, marred by a corruption scandal in which governor Geraldo Alckmin, who also received money from public works contractors for his campaign, is under investigation.

More recently, the state-owned Sabesp [BVMF:SBSP3] —  has fessed up to delaying news about a looming water shortage in the state during the campaign season.

The CEO of Sabesp was overheard on tape telling her colleagues that it was a “mistake” to postpone public announcements on the issue.

If it does not rain by November, there will be outages where now there seem to be discreet adjustments in the middle of the night, the morning paper says.

Both federal and state administrations have made extensive use of the PPP — public-private partnership — to organize Pharaonic undertakings. Is there something endemic about the model, that makes it risk-insensitive?  Continue reading

Labor Relations | Chico The Vigilante


Source: CUT | Central Única dos Trabalhadores

Maintenance unions CNTV, Sindesv and Sindvig met this morning with the federal minister of labor, Manoel Dias, to debate and suggest measures that would regulate the hiring of watchmen during the FIFA Cup in Brazil. Estimates are that 50 thousands jobs will be created in this area during the Cup. Continue reading

«Globo Downplays FIFA Association»


Source: Brasil 24/7

Globo, the official broadcaster of the World Cup, has already brought in R$ 1.4 billion in advertising revenues for event coverage.

Despite this, last week TV Globo issued a recommendation to its journalists to avoid “positive spin” on the event.

In a memo circulated among staff, Globo calls for balanced coverage of the championship and asks that irregularities also be covered. These guidelines appear to apply mainly to the staff of the Jornal Nacional. It is no accident that the network’s flagship news program affords daily coverage of delayed public works and the rising cost of stadiums. Continue reading

Urban Planners Hail Haddad

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Sao Paulo, city of ziggurats

Source: Viomundo.

Urban planning experts hail Haddad for anticorruption effort

The city government of São Paulo, together with the state Public Ministry [prosecutor], has taken a rigorous approach to the investigation of a corruption scheme that has ruled the approval process for building projects in the city in the last eight years.

Petty and traditional corruption, which has always accompanied the obtaining of official permits for the use and occupation of urban land is something with which we are all familiar. Continue reading

Trensalão | Furthering the Plot


IstoÉ magazine overreaches a bit in selecting a Watergate-themed headline for this week’s issue — All the Toucan Bribery Scheme’s Men. Even so, it continues to lead the way in breaking new aspects of the São Paulo cartel case. I translate because mostly because I found myself with time on my hands.

Source: IstoÉ | Viomundo .

Last week, the investigation by the antitrust authority CADE demonstrated that the formation of cartels in the commuter railway sector is a national phenomenon. This enormous swindle, investigators concluded, was repeated in various regions and was systematically manifest in São Paulo, with bid-rigging, price-fixing and subcontracting of auction losers.

The frauds, spanning the 20 years of the PSDB government of São Paulo, exhibit some peculiarities that differentiate them from  other schemes investigated by CADE, however.  The São Paulo scheme stands out for its pioneering nature (the scheme began operating in 1998, in the middle of the Covas administration), its duration, its dimensions and the sums involved — nearly half a billion reais drained away during the reign of the Toucans

More importantly, however, the S. Paulo Metrô scandal has detected the participation of public agents linked to the PSDB. In exchange for guarantees that enabled the swindle to continue and the profits of the cartel to increase.  Significant figures of the PSDB took bribes and greased the wheels of a bribery scheme that diverted public funds into poltical campaigns.

The magazine offers no conclusive details on who received what, if anything. Continue reading


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