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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.

charge-latuff-obama-petroleo_0-preview

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

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Car Wash | Big Brother Is Watching

cccleanhands

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

Campus Fidei & The Million Man Mass

Campus Fidei in

Campus Fidei in Guaratibe, Western Zone, Rio:

Source: Folha de S.Paulo

Topic: The failure of the Campus Fidei project for hosting pilgrims in the Southern Zone of Rio.

“Campus Fidei,” a 1.32 million square meter tract of land in  Guaratiba, in the Western Zone of  Rio and scheduled site of the closing vigil and mass of World Youth Day, was installed on a clandestine tract of land, according to state prosecutors.

Among the owners of the land is businessman Jacob Barata Filho, according to Christiane Monnerat, the prosecutor assigned to the case.

Filho is the son of Jacob Barata, known in Rio as “The Bus King,” because he owns most of the bus collectives in the city.

The area, an example of the manguezal ecosystem , cannot be subjected to landfill because it lies within an area of environmental protection.

Wikipedia:

Manguezal, also called mangue or mangal, is a costal ecosystem and point of transition between inland and marine environments — a humid zone characteristic of tropial and subtropical regions.

In addition … Continue reading

Bingo! | Delta Goes Down

deltaconstrucao

Source: Delta defines bankruptcy recovery plan — Portal ClippingMP.

In the annals of contemporary Brazilian bribery scandals, probably none are more painful than the saga of the public works contractor Delta and its ties to organized crime boss Carlinhos Cachoeira — Charlie Waterfall, whose principal business is the murky world of smuggling, numbers racketeering, and “nickel-hunter” gambling machines.

One of Brazil’s largest contractors, Delta had been a star player in the PAC — the federal growth acceleration program — and was afforded the honor of joining the consortium to rebuild the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Now, it would be difficult for it to obtain a bicycle-powered newspaper route.

Delta has since voluntarily withdrawn from Maracanã and most other projects.

A congressional investigation is underway — wrapping up early, actually, after company officials and other parties took the local equivalent of the Fifth — but federal police say they have ample evidence of wrongdoing — including the involvement of journalists in character assassinations of Mr. Waterfall’s enemies..

Delta executives appeared on court-ordered wiretaps discussing how to cheat federal contract bidding procedures and infiltrate regulatory agencies, among other things.

And so the rise and fall of Delta turns out to be a textbook case of moral hazard.

Delta intends to pay its non-financial creditors with equipment. Its plan is to reduce its inventory of idle equipment by reducing the number of projects contracted for since January 2012 by  50%. Banks and financial institutions will receive payment starting in June 2014,  payable in 72 monthly installments and corrected by CDI+1%, according to a recovery plan filed yesterday in a Rio de Janeiro court. The creditors assembly is scheduled for December 7. Bradesco is the company’s largest creditor. Continue reading

The Waterfall Case | The Guy Does The Thing for The Professor

Apocalypse then: Paraísopolis before. Source: Serra45.com.br, the campaign Web site of José Serra for Mayor

The Charlie Waterfall affair — so dubbed by the New York Times — proceeds in fits and starts, as the history of government contracts with a major government contractor is subjected to stricter application of sunshine rules.

Item, on the same topic:

Technical experts working for the parliamentary commission on Carlinhos Cachoeira [– «Charlie Waterfall», the Goiás-based numbers racketeer and Abramoffian lobbyist –] have just finished a complete survey of all contracts signed by the São Paulo state and municipal governments and Delta, linked to the criminal organization headed by the numbers racketeer. The scheme totals R$ 1.2 billion.

The company also booked R$ 885 million in federal contracts in 2011 and R$ 4 billion in the last 12 years.

The results of the survey reveal the relationship of PSDB governments with the parent organization of the Cachoeira gang and cast suspicion on seven-figure contracts awared to civil engineering firm Delta, negotiated by the Kassab municipal government and allegedly influenced by the former DEM senator for Goias, Demóstenes Torres.

Delta is the largest beneficiary of federal building contracts for the PAC — economic development acceleration program — and the Olympics and World Cup events.

It’s rumored that it is discreetly liquidating its entire portfolio of government contracts and preparing for the worst. It abandoned Cup-related urban transportation improvements in Fortaleza in May.

The company also reportedly hired «big monthly allowance» defendant José Dirceu, a founding figure of the ruling PT,  as a consultant and lobbyist. This needs checking.

Continue reading

Burning Down the Shantytowns | Where There’s Fire, Blowing Smoke

The fires are happening next door to urban renewal projects in areas where real estate prices are booming. And where there are no fires, there is police violence in support of repossesions.

SÃO PAULO, SAMBODIA | Today’s clipping in PT-BR > EN-US translation.

First, studies point to correlations between a mysterious wave of fires and areas of active real estate arbitrage — taken as a more plausible explanation than the city administration’s citation of unseasonably dry weather.

Source: ANDRÉ DELFINO DA SILVA and RAIMUNDO BONFIM, Folha de S.Paulo, 25 September, p. 2. Defino represents the MDF, the Favela Defense Movement.

Secondly, tracking campaign contributions by real estate and housing companies and lobbying groups to lawmakers charged with investigating the fires.

Source: Carta Maior, 27 September 2012.

Moinho is Latest in Wave of Suspicious Shantytown Fires

The September 17 fire in the Moinho shantytown, in the São Paulo city center, was the latest in a series of tragedies. Continue reading

Taking Out A Contract | Waterfall’s São Paulo Dealings

The oppositionist Diário de Manhã  warns Brazilian federal deputies in the government alliance that an investigation of crooked contracting practices in the «Waterfall» case might also hurt the ruling PT and the allied PMDB.

Recently read:

Leandro Fortes, “Cachoeira leaves fingerprints on São Paulo,” Carta Capital(Brazil), 19 September 2012.

I translate a passage or two.

 Technical experts working for the federal parliamentary inquiry into mob boss and lobbyist Carlinhos Cachoeira have just finished a complete survey of all contracts signed by the São Paulo state and municipal governments and Delta, a private contractor linked to the criminal organization headed by the numbers racketeer.

Linked how? That’s the interesting question. Leandro Fortes calls him a “silent partner” of and lobbyist for the engineering firm, one of the largest in Brazil.

In an intriguing sidelight, the scheme apparently used journalists, both witting and unwitting, to smear, with screaming headlines, rivals and government officials standing in the way of its interests . Fortes cites past negotiations over a report that ran in Globo’s Época magazine, for example:

The revelation of a relationship between Globo and its magazine and the group headed by the numbers boss comes just as Leonardo Gagno, the attorney for Cachoeira right-hand man and black bag operator Dadá, told the congressional commission that Dadá and his colleague were tasked with “feeding stories to the news media,” and that “Cachoeira’s interest in using [information warfare] as a part of doing business was well-known by everyone.”

«informações» = information, intelligence, counterintelligence

But back to CartaCapital and Leandro.

The alleged scheme involves sums in excess of R$ 1.2 billion. The results of the study reveal the relationship of PSDB governments with the parent organization of the Cachoeira conspiracy and cast suspicion on seven-figure contracts negotiated by the Kassab municipal government in São Paulo, supposedly influenced by the former DEM senator for Goias, Demóstenes Torres.

Kassab was a member of the DEM until a year or so ago when he jumped ship to the newly founded PSD.

Delta received the contract for the urban renewal of the Paraisópolis shantytown under the Kassab government.

The project is being used as a model urban renewal project in TV inserts for mayoral candidate José Serra.

The indefatigable Paulo Preto puts in an appearance as well. A federal police telephone wiretap conducted during Operation Monte Carlo captured a conversation between Cachoeira and Cláudio Abreu, Delta’s regional director for the Brazilian Center-West, in which th two men discuss Delta’s contracts with the São Paulo city government.

Dated January 31, 2012, the wiretap captures the numbers and bingo boss asking Abreu about a conversation between Delta’s former CEO, Fernando Cavendish and Mayor Kassab about an as yet unidentified contract.

The Delta director makes a revelation: As a favor to Senator Torres, São Paulo’s mayor supposedly tripled the value of the unidentified contract. The converation runs as follows, transcribed from an audio file to which CartaCapital had access:

— Carlinhos Cachoeira: One other thing, Cláudio, Did you speak to Fernando (Cavendish) about that thing with Kassab?

— Cláudio Abreu: … I am going to meet with him later, I am going over there to give him an answer. But tell me, what’s the deal over there? The contract, right? He did the thing, didn’t he? He did it for the Professor (Demóstenes Torres), right?

— Cachoeira: He (Kassab) said he tripled the contract for him (Demóstenes).

An analysis conducted by the CPI indicates that São Paulo city hall signed three contracts with Delta between 2004 and 2012, worth a total of 307.6 million.

A contract with the Companhia de Limpeza Urbana (Comlurb) – street sweeping and garbage collection — was worth R$ 93.7 million. A contract for the urban renewal of the Paraisópolis shantytown, signed with the city housing authority, was worth R$ 15.4 million. A contract with São Paulo Transporte S.A. (SPTrans) — public transportation — was worth R$ 12.2 million.

Given the timeframe of the police surveillance, it is not yet possible to detect exactly which of the contracts was allegedly tripled, since all three were continued into 2012.

City hall spokesman Emerson Figueiredo said that Mayor Kassab “is unaware of this dialogue and its supposed protagonists and considers its content groundless.”

Relations between Delta and the São Paulo state government involve larger sums, totaling R$ 943 million in today’s reais. The contracts were signed under state governors José Serra (R$ 765 million) and Geraldo Alckmin (R$ 178 million) between 2002 and 2012. The deals were signed at the instance of five state-owned firms: Dersa and DER (highways), Daee (hydroelectric power), Sabesp (water and sewage treatment), and Unicamp (state university).

The most significant project for which the state contracted Delta was as part of the New Tiete Consortium, which undertook to broaden the Tiete beltway for R$ 150 million. The contract ran from June 22, 2009 to April 10, 2012. Based on an analysis of the transfer of consortium funds to Delta’s accounts, the CPI’s technicians concluded that the companies involved have no controls over the allocation of credits and debits to consortium members. In this way, one firm may subcontract another and pay it the entire amount due for the service. Using this subterfuge, and based on the padding of invoices or  falsification of receipts for services rendered, the difference can be returned to the subcontractor with absolutely no oversight or disclosure.

Delta may have mounted a money laundering scheme using such bureaucratic subterfuges. The experts also noted that Delta’s subcontractors enter into contracts with one another … and transfer funds to one another without accounting for the sums transferred.

The congressional inquiry into São Paulo public works contracts coincides with the results of an earlier survey by Conceição Lemes, of the Web log Viomundo, based on data from the Transparência São Paulo Web log, which specializes in the analyis of public spending.

Based on this information, it was possible to detect that the contract with Dersa with respect to the Tiete project (R$ 415 million) was signed by Paulo Vieira de Souza, aka «Paulo Preto», Dersa’s director of engineering until April 2010, and by Dersa CEO and superintendent Delson Amador.

With intimate ties to the PSDB — social democrats — «Black Paulo» was reputedly a fundraiser for party election campaigns and at one point was accused of making off with R$ 4 million supposedly earmarked for the Serra for President campaign.

Black Paulo and Amador also figure in the federal police Operation Sandcastle in which executives of public works contractor Camargo Corrêa were accused of mounting a bribery scheme in public works projects.

In 1997, when Andrea Matarazzo of the PSDB presided over the company, Delson Amador was named CEO of the state-owned electric company (Cesp),which was later privatized.

He was responsible for auditing public works projects involving Camargo Corrêa, such as the Porto Primavera generation plant and the Ponte Pauliceia, a bridge over the Paraná River linking Pauliceia, São Paulo and Brasilândia, Mato Grosso do Sul. Amador was Matarazzo’s chief of staff when Matarazzo headed the Sé subprefecture in metro São Paulo.

A certificate issued by the São Paulo Junta Comercial – the corporations registry – indicates that Heraldo Puccini Neto, Delta’s regional director for São Paulo and the Brazilian South, is also the legal representative of the Nova Tietê consortium.

Federal police wiretaps show that Puccini is one of the closest confidants of Carlinhos Cachoeira. Documents from federal police Operation Monte Carlo point to to Puccini as one of the persons used by the scheme to prepare bids for public works projects.