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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.  Continue reading


Rio Rackets | Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

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Source: G1

The state attorney of Goias filed charges this week against 28 police officers suspected of affording favorable treatment to the criminal racket commanded by Carlos Augusto de Almeida Ramos — aka Charlie Waterfall.

According to the indictment, these officers were paid in cash and other benefits to overlook evidence or even actively boycott investigation of a gambling and corruption organization revealed by Operation Monte Carlo, a police action dating back to February 2012.

The 28 police were charged with active and passive corruption and  violation of confidentiality policies. Prosecutors say the police group was “the armed faction of the criminal organization.”

The case will be heard by a military court.

Continue reading

Comendador Gets 19 Years


Source:  Associação Brasileira da Imprensa | Fato Notório

The sentencing council of a Cuiabá criminal court has voted, 4-3, to sentence former state policeman turned organized crime boss to 19 years in prison for arranging the  murder of Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Filho Junior, 41, owner of the daily Folha do Estado, in September 2002.

According to the state high court of Mato Gross (TJ-MT), Judge Marcos Faleiro set the sentence at 19 years because João Arcanjo Ribeiro ordered subordinates to commit murder, doubly qualified …

The federal Public Ministry declared at the the time that Sávio Brandão published various articles in his newspaper denouncing a criminal organization led the defendant, who denies the claim.

Comendador João Arcanjo Ribeiro — the honorary title conferred upon Arcanjo by the legislative assembly of Mato Grosso — will initially be subject to maximum security and will not be allowed to await the results of his appeals in freedom. The comendador has been in preventive detention since  2003, accused of taking part in the murders of Mauro Sérgio Manhoso, Rivelino Jacques Brunini, Fauze Rachid Jaudy, Valdir Pereira, Leandro Gomes dos Santos, Celso Borges, and Mauro Celso de Moraes. There is also a charge attempted murder targeting Gisleno Fernandes. All the crimes were registered between 2000 and 2002 in Cuiabá and Várzea Grande.

The trial of Arcanjo, expected to last two days, began [last Thursday] morning. There was a heavy police presence. Immediately following the sentencing jury and the passing of sentence, at 9:00 a.m.  Arcanjo’s attorney argued for the dismissal of the charges. On the previous day, the federal appears court,  Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ), had already rejected a petition against the use of a popular jury.

According to the Folha de S. Paulo, senior magistrate Rui Ribeiro, of the TJ-MT, had turned down a petition b Arcanjo to dispense with the jury, arguing that the local presss, “in solidarity with the victime has produced a publicity massacre of the  defendant.” The judge found the intense interest in the murder of Brandão “only natural.”

The defense also tried to prevent the presentation of evidence by two informants enlisted by the MP: Police official Luciano Inácio, who authored the final report in the case, and Senator Pedro Taques, who, as Attorney-General of the Union, took part in investigating other crimes in which the comendador took part. The honorary title comendador was granted by the state legislative assembly of Mato Grosso.


Among the witnesses for the accusation, the jury heard from Luiza Marília de Barros Lima, sister of the victim and a witness to the crime, and Maria Luiza Clarentino de Souza, former employee of the daily Folha do Estado de Mato Grosso.

Arcanjo revealed to the judge his involvement in numbers rackeering and casinos, but denied involvement in “nickel hunter” slot machines, as well as the murder of the journalist.

I believe I read at the time that he owned a modest factoring business.

The defendant said he had not been offended by articles published by Sávio Brandão which targeted Arcanjo. “I am a person of humble origins, and ex-cop, a prospector and a successful numbers entrepreneur. People don’t accept that,” Arcanjo said.

After the pronouncement of sentence, relatives of Sávio Brandão seemed relieved:

— We have lived through a very difficult episode in our lives. Now, we fee relieved. It is sad that I cannot hold my son in my arms, said the mother of the victim.

The Crime

Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Junior was murdered on Septmber 30, 2002, at 3:30 p.m. in the Consil neighborhood of  Cuiabá. he was struck by gunfire from a 9mm piestol and died on the scene.

The MP-MT accused João Arcanjo Ribeiro of ordering the crime.  Célio Alves de Souza, Hércules Araújo Agostinho, Fernando Barbosa Belo and João Leite were part of the group responsible for the execution of the publisher. 

The death of Sávio Brandão shocked Brazi and led to a major police operation known as “Noah’s Ark,”in 2002. The operation dismantled the comendador’s operation, but he managed to make his escape to Uruguay, where he was captured in April 2003.

The trial of Arcanjo, which has followed legal channels since September 2003, is based on 25 volumes and more than 5,500 pages.

Due to the countless appeals filed by defense counsel in the past 10 years, the case has been considered by every instance of the judiciary, included the Supreme Court and the federal appeals court (STJ).  On September 16 of thisyear, Cuiabá Judge Mônica Catarina Perri Siqueira, set October 24 as the day for trial by jury.


Coverage | Rating Port Reports

Porto de Santos - Fotografias antigas

Via Observatório da Imprensa

By: Rolf Kuntz

Translate: C. Brayton

The Brazilian government is busy trying to stimulate the modernization of and competition among the ports, the stated goals of Provisional Measure 595, approved by a final vote in Congress on May 16.

Brazilian ports are among the best in the world at processing iron ore but occupy 35th place in the handling of containers, according to a study executed by FIRJAN and reproduced in the May 19 edition of O Globo.

To stimulate competition, however, it will be necesary to multiply access routes to various terminals, the Estado de S. Paulo warned in an article published the same day.

The contrast between coverage by the Folha and O Globo is striking: the Folha refers insistently to the current “chaos” as O Globo looks forward to an advance in the rankings, as follows.

Brazilian ports are experiencing a paradox. In port terminals for the export of iron, Brazil leads the world rankings in first, second and fifth place. Among ports that handle containers, it falls to 35th place, bringing up the rear in a study released by FIRJAN, the Rio de Janeiro industrial federation. Investments in increased capacity, modernization of equipment and improvements in electronic cargo handling could elevate Brazil to 17th place within three years. This leap, according to experts, could be favored by the MP dos Portos, approved last week in Congress.

Returning to the Estado analysis and its prognosis of “chaos”:

“The lack of alternative routes ends up overloading the southern and southeastern coastal ports, while other ports are practically idle.  In the area of grains, nearly two-thirds of production for export leaves the country through Santos (SP) and Paranaguá (PR). The rest is divided among 16 terminals scattered along the coast,” the article said.

With these articles, the two newspapers enriched the reader’s understanding one of the hottest and complex issues of the week, the vote on the Provisional Measure of the Ports. The major news organizations made a mighty effort over the course of that week to follow the voting in the two houses of Congress. Moreover, they took the trouble to explain the issue in detail and demonstrate to readers how important it was.

Hard Work

There were long, hard negotiations in the lower house. The government had failed to mobilize its congressional base of support. For this reason, a last-minute push was needed to obtain votes for the measure without agreeing to disastrous amendments.  MP 595 was to lose its validity at midnight on May 16.

An MP is a bill sent down by the executive to be voted by the Congress, with a time constraint. The mechanism is often criticized as an incursion of executive power into the powers of Congress.

With some of its main allies working against the bill, the government had to make concessions and promise resources for projects financed by budget amendments.

According to journalistic accounts, the Treasury is to release R$ 1 billion, and more political appointments are to be made. Debates in Câmara went on well into the night and the decisive session lasted 22 hours. Lawmakers were photographed sleeping on the floor of Congress, but sleep is a luxury reporters do not enjoy.

Observing this marathon was only part of the mission. Day by day it was necessary to explain the principal changes proposed, their consequences, and the probable reaction of the government.  It may be argued whether the effort was consistently successful, but the performance of the media was undeniable. It would be very difficult to obtain, in these conditions, a better result.  On May 17, the major dailies were still fixated on final approval of the bill, obtained quickly and with surprising facility by the Senate. The effort to translate the details of the text for the lay reader and to indicate the likely presidential vetos continued on Saturday.

Complex Agenda

On Sundary, the newspapers made space on the front page again for the topic.  “Brazil may advance in global ranking,” informed O Globo, with a jump head for an article on the classification and future of the ports. “New ports will require new roads and railroads,”, was the top headline of the Estadão. In a more discrete reference to the story, at the foot of the front page, the Folha de S. Paulo registered the statement: “‘I am not an evil genius’, said Eduardo Cunha, an opponent of the MP dos Portos”. Cunha leads the PMDB in the lower house of congress, the part of vice-president Michel Temer and the government’s most powerful ally. Its resistance was the principal obstacle to the approval of the measure.

Given the prospect that certain articles may be vetoed, there is much new material that will have to be explored and explained in subsequent editions. To date, the MP dos Portos is the most complete and best-organized governmental initiative to increase efficiency and competitiveness of the Brazilian economy.  But it is merely one part of a much broader agenda, as exemplified by the Estado’s story on the condition of access roads connecting to the terminals.

F&A | Ruy Moura’s Breakfast Reading


It has always surprised me that Brazil’s gargantuan and complex business ecosystem   seems unable to produce something along the lines of Dealb%k — an exemplary use of that in-the-moment blog format that keeps readers checking in periodically throughout the day, rather than simply reading it once through and lining the parakeet page with the leftovers.

The business pages of the major Brazilian dailies are heavy on macroeconmic trends, market movements, and the like — stuff you can cover sitting on your ass in front of a Bloomberg Box —  but very light on hard business stories with real protagonists and consequences: Company X overcomes Problem A to accomplish Objective 1.1, or Bank C offers Subsidiary Z to Company Y for X gazillions.

Only the largest economic groups and deals get such coverage, which is not much use to the venture cap, hedge fund or M&A guys who fish a smaller pond — and whose activities are newsworthy themselves, to boot.

So, then, a Brazilian Dealb%k?

The plain old Blogspot Fusões & Aquisições is a step in the right direction, although I  wish it would publish a masthead and take itself seriously as a journalistic source.

Its principal analyst — its only analyst, it seems — appears to be Ruy Moura, founder of Acquisitions Consultora Empresarial Ltda.

Moura’s daily clipping file has climbed to the top of my breakfast reading list, along with the planning ministry’s clipping of various media sources, broken down by topic and searchable.

I think there is a substantial editorial market for the Dealb%k style of coverage.

The only potential competitor I can think of in the Brazilian editorial market is Relatório Reservado, a one-page tip sheet circulating daily to a private circle of subscribers and relying heavily on market rumors.

Exame magazine has a deal flow blog that is useful to check in on as well.

This is the sort of story I find myself missing:  Continue reading

Brazilian Brokers to Change Exchange?


Sensitive to the challenging conditions faced by brokerage houses and issuers, the BM&FBovespa is studying a plan to restructure the Brazilian brokerage industry. The rules require intensive changes, says Edemir Pinto, CEO of the BM&FBovespa. “The time has come to review this whole system we have here in Brazil.,” he said.

The stock exchange has formed a working group with Anbima, the association of capital and financial  markets companies, and Ancord, the national association of brokerage houses and distributors.

The group will analyse the market and propose changes to the federal government. The Banco Central and the Brazilian SEC-equivalent CVM) support the study and dispatched personnel to follow the process as auditors.

For a September 2012 interview with Pinto by the CME Group — in PT-Br — see here.

The two discussed a buzz-making remark by  Bill Clinton, «I would bet on Brazil first,” and outlined a partnership with the CME Group to offer S&P 500 e Ibovespa futures through the Globex and PUMA order routing platform.

The global preferred strategic partnership between BM&FBOVESPA and CME Group allows their customers to trade contracts of both exchanges in real time. Continue reading

Risco Brasil | Courts Uphold Derivatives Contracts

The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Central banks and governments have so  far found no effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these contracts. In my view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are  potentially lethal. –Warren Buffet 2002

“It’s an established fact: corporate governance in Brazil is divided into two periods: before the derivatives scandal and after it.” –Rodrigo Zeidan, Fundação Dom Cabral.

According to research performed for the Folha de S. Paulo — and not, for some reason, by the FSP — courts are tending to uphold the caveat emptor school of thought on the subject of

I translate. Author: Adriana Aguia, Valor Econômico Portal ClippingMP.

The exchange-rate derivative contracts that pressured the finances of such major business groups as Sadia, Aracruz e Votorantim, causing billions of dollars in damage during the panic of 2008, are now being  recognized as valid by the Brazilian judiciary.

During the 15 minutes of fame generated by the Aracruz and Votorantim “too big to fail” derivatives cases, Brazil’s SEC, the CVM created and issued a new accounting form — above — in which derivatives contracts would be reflected on an appendix to the quarterly books.

In 2010, CVM issued Instruction 486/10,

which deals with the execution and clearing of derivatives contracts negotiated or registered in organized trading venues: the stock market, the commodity and futures market, and the organized OTC.  The main objective of Instruction 486/10 is to support information-sharing on derivative transactions conducted in the market or in an OTC by the oversight bodies of the stock, commodities and futures exchanges, in keeping with certain recent and unprecedented tendencies in the Brazilian market. Continue reading