The Carabiniero Reports: Banging Out More Notes on the Brazilian Bingo Bongo


Bingo Jabaquara, Southern Zone, São Paulo. Jumping-off point for Santos. Source: Fotoagência NMM(-TV)SNBCNNBS-Tabajara (me).

Writing for the Web site of the Instituto Brasileiro Giovanni Falcone — a project headed by the acerbic CartaCapital “spies and mafia” columnist, the former federal judge and national “drug czar,” Wálter Fangiello Maierovitch — Assimina Vlahou elicits perspective from an Italian caribinieri general on the Italo-Tupi connection with respect to the jogo do bicho and the caça-níqueis (“nickel-hunter,” “one-armed bandit”) alt.leisure industry.

See also

There is a tendency, in writing about organized crime in Brazil, to draw a sharp distinction between narco and non-narco vice. The former — which tends to employ non-white “minorities” — is demonized as an apocalyptic threat to order, progress, decency, virginity, innocent fetuses, Christian values, life, liberty, property, the pursuit of happiness, and white Christian civilization in general.

The latter is softballed as a form of contravenção — a technical misdemeanor.

It ain’t necessarily so.

Larry Rohter of the New York Times wrote recently that international law enforcement cooperation on corruption and organized crime — in this case, the indictment of Paulo Salim Maluf by the Manhattan DA (appointed by James Madison, our Morgy, and still hanging in there) — is a “bizarre” development.

The New York Times now editorializes in its news reporting. Who would have predicted that degradation of the Grey Lady’s spotless journalistic reputation?

But the fact is that such international cooperation has a long, rich, colorful, complex and often frustrating history.

See also

What is Larry Rohter smoking, anyway?

And who is he smoking it with?

Entrevista concedida à Revista Carta Capital. Angiolo Pellegrini, agora general carabineiro, apurou, na direção de investigação antimáfia de Roma, operações de lavagem de dinheiro de drogas em jogos de azar, como o bingo, e as ramificações no Brasil, República Domenicana e Rússia.

In an interview granted to CartaCapital, Angiolo Pellegrini, currently a general in the carabineiri, says that while directing an antimafia investigation in Rome, he discovered money-laundering operations involving drugs and gambling, such as bingos, with ramifactions in Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Russia.

Veja, meanwhile, is last spotted interviewing the U.S. Ambassador, Bush Ranger and Net2Phone — “communications without borders!” — founder (bought by Cisco to form ADIR) Clifford Sobel. Also an exclusive interview.

Pellegrini trabalhou com os juizes Giovanni Falcone e Paolo Borselino, assassinados pela Máfia. Dirigiu, também, à repressão à Cosa Nostra, em Palermo, e a N´Drangheta, na Calábria.

Pellegrini worked with the late judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borselino, who were assassinated by the mafia. He also led the repression of the Cosa Nostra in Palermo and the N’Drangheta in Calabria.

No Brasil, tem publicada a obra Criminalidade Organizada, uma edição da editora Jurídica Brasileira.

In Brazil, he has published the book Organized Criminality, brought out by the Jurídica Brasileira publishing house.


AV.- Exitiu [sic] a conexao Italia-Brasil, mencionada na Operaçao Malocchio e relativa à lavagem de dinheiro da droga em maquinas eletronicas de jogos de azar?

Was there an Italo-Brazilian connection, as mentioned in Operation Evil Eye, with respect to money-laundering from the drug trade and electronic gambling machines.

Pellegrini- Para nós, a conexao existiu.

In our view, yes, there was.

O grupo chefiado por Fausto Pellegrinetti, traficava droga e lavava o dinheiro proveniente deste trafico em diversas atividades e diferentes paises, inclusive no Brasil, através de Lillo Lauricella. Isso foi certificado com uma sentença nos 3 graus de juizo que da’ o caso como encerrado na Italia.

The group headed by Fausto Pellegrinetti trafficked drugs and laundered money from that traffic through various business activities in various countries, including Brazil, through Lillo Lauricella. This proposition was ratified by a sentence that was upheld through three rounds of appeals, which means that in Italy, the case is closed.

Lauricella e Pellegrinetti foram condenados com base nas informaçoes apuradas pela Operaçao Malocchio. No Brasil eles se dedicavam ao jogo de bingo. cujas maquinas compravam na Espanha e enviavam para o Brasil onde eram montadas e colocadas em circulaçao.

Lauricella and Pellegrinetti were found guilty based on information gathered during Operation Evil Eye. In Brazil, they dedicated themselves to the bingo industry, buying the machines in Spain and shipping them to Brazil, where they were assembled and put in operation.

AV.- Como os senhores comprovaram a existencia desta conexao?

How did you prove the existence of this connection?

Pellegrini- A ligaçao foi evidenciada através de material de escuta telefônica. Houve também uma rogatória internacional e estivemos no Brasil em 1999.

The connection was evidenced by material gathered from wiretaps. There was also an international request for information and we were in Brazil in 1999.

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The former Secretary of Education — a prominent practicioner of the rhetoric of hysterical moral virginity — is often lambasted these days over his admitted gambling habit.

Entregamos o texto da rogatória e informaçoes levantadas pela nossa equipe ao Doutor Walter Fanganiello Maierowitch- na época Secretário Nacional Anti Drogas da Presidência da Republica.

We turned over the interrogatories, and information developed by our team, to Dr. Maierovitch, who at the time was the Presidential National Antidrug Secretary.

Durante nossa estadia pedimos informações sobre as sociedades do setor de jogo de bingo que tinham ligaçao com a organizaçao que estavamos investigando. Fizemos também algumas inspeções. Nelas ficou claro por exemplo que a Nevada tinha relaçao com a Recrativos Franco da Espanha.

During our stay in Brazil, we asked for information on companies in the bingo sector with ties to the organization we were investigating. We also did some inspections, from which it was clear that Nevada had a relationship with Recreativos Franco in Spain.

Na sede da Nevada- um galpao de 1300 metros quadrados abandonado poucos meses antes da nossa chegada, encontramos peças de maquinas para jogos eletronicos, compradas por Lauricella e Pellegrinetti. Havia tambem manuais de assistência técnica para modificar a composiçao eletronica das maquinas, alem de documentos alfandegarios que as acompanhavam. Esses documentos estavam em nome de Ref International de Miami com destino final Bingomatic.

At the headquarters of Nevada — a 1,300 square meter warehouse abandoned just a few months before we arrived, we found components for electronic gambling machines bought by Lauricella and Pellegrinetti. There were also technical manuals on how to modify the electronic components of the machines, as well as Customs documents that referred to the components. These documents were in the name of Ref International of Miami, with the final recipient identified as Bingomatic.

AV- Qual foi o papel da Astro Turismo?

What was the role of Astro Turismo?

Pellegrini- Essa sociedade mantinha contato com Lauricella no ambito da gestao das maquinas eletronicas no Brasil e num giro de dinheiro atraves de alguns bancos cujo nome nao recordo. Nao posso afirmar se a Astro Turismo recebeu dinheiro diretamente ou se apenas gerenciava as maquinas. Havia um contato e isto ficou claro. A atividade e’ mais clara quando se fala em Bingomatic Eletronic, Nevada, Betatronic e Jerbra ( com sede em Jersey), sociedades ligadas entre si.

That company maintained contact with Lauricella with respect to management of the electronic gambling machines in Brazil and the transit of money through some banks whose names I do not recall right now. I cannot say with certainty that Astro got money directly, or whether it merely managed the machines. There was contact, however, that much was clear. That activity is even claer when it comes to Bingomatic Electronic, Nevada, Betatronic and the Jersey-domiciled Jerbra, companies that were related to one another.

4- Na Itaia se aplica o principio de direito penal de territorialidade? Os brasileiros da conexao nao foram processados por que suas açoes ocorreram so’ no Brasil?

In Italy, does the principal of local jurisdiction apply? Were the Brazilians in this scheme not indicted because they acted solely in Brazil?

Pellegrini- Existe uma questao de territorialidade sim. Nao foi nem e’ de nossa competencia verificar a eventual responsabilidade de cidadaos brasileiros. A autoridade judiciaria italiana investiga apenas cidadaos italianos por crimes cometidos na Italia e no exterior ou estrangeiros que cometem crime em territorio italiano. Nos investigamos a banda chefiada por Pellegrinetti e Lauricella e o percurso para a lavagem do dinheiro proveniente do trafico de droga.

Yes, there is an issue of territoriality. We wre not competent to judge the possible guilt of Brazilian citizens. The Italian judiciary investigated only Italian citizens for crimes committed in Italy and abroad, or foreigners who committed crimes on Italian soil. We investigated the group headed by Pellegrinetti and Lauricella and the money-laundering routes used to process drug trafficking proceeds.

Nao fizemos investigaçoes no Brasil, mas rogatorias finalizadas a detectar esse dinheiro. Sabemos que eles compraram maquinas de jogo, que fizeram sociedade com algumas empresas e com a familia Ortiz no Brasil, mas a eventual responsabilidade dos Ortiz nao foi verificada por nós. Eles sao brasileiros, as coisas aconteceram no Brasil, portanto nao era de nossa competencia, tanto que isso nao aparece no processo. Nao pudemos nem verificar se os Ortiz tinham conhecimento da procedência do dinheiro usado por Lauricella.

We did not conduct investigations in Brazil, but submitted interrogatories aimed at detecting this money. We knew they bought gambling machines, that they had partnerships with certain firms and with the Ortiz family in Brazil, but we did not determine whether the Ortiz clan had any criminal responsibility.. They are Brazilian citizens, those events transpired in Brazil, so it was not our job, and so this matter did not appear in our case file. We could not even verify whether the Ortiz knew of the source of the money used by Lauricella.

AV- Quando da conexao Italia-Brasil, qual era a fama e os antecedentes de Lauricella e Pellegrinetti?

As to the Italo-Brazilian connection, what was the prior reputation of Lauricella and Pellegrinetti?

Pellegrini- Quando iniciamos as investigaçoes da Operaçao Malocchio em 1995, Pellegrinetti era foragido e ainda e’- a policia italiana ainda nao conseguiu dete-lo, apesar da colaboraçao com a Interpol. Sua atividade no trafico de droga e lavagem de dinheiro havia sido detectada atraves de uma outra operaçao: a “Green Ice”, em 1992. Naquela ocasiao ficou clara sua ligaçao com o cartel dos colombianos e com as mafias calabresa e napolitana. Numa das rogatorias que enviamos ao Brasil, pedimos informaçoes para tentar localizá-lo no território , mas nao tivemos resposta.

When we began Operation Evil Eye in 1995, Pellegrinetti was a fugitive, and still is. The Italian police have not managed to arrest him, despite a collaboration with Interpol. His drug-trafficking and money-laundering activities were detected in another operation in 1992, called “Green Ice.” On that occasion his connections with the Colombia cartels became very clear, as well as with the Calabria and Naples mafias. In one of the interrogatories we sent to Brazil, we asked for information to try to locate him in Brazil, but we got no response.

On Recreativos Franco, Extra Classe of Porto Alegre published this summary of its business ties in case involving accusations that a cabinet officer in the Sports and Tourism ministry under Cardoso turned a blind eye to regulatory violations by bingos — including the infiltration of the industry by the jogo do bicho.

O esquema dos bingos mobiliza dezenas de empresas em todo o Brasil, que estão sendo investigadas pelo Ministério Público. Várias delas têm os mesmos sócios, funcionam nos mesmos endereços e mantêm negócios entre si numa verdadeira rede de proteção e de divisão de lucros. A seguir, um resumo das principais ligações do jogo com a máfia.

The bingos scheme involved dozens of firms throughout Brazil, which are now being investigated by the Public Ministry (prosecutor). A number of them have the same partners, function at the same addresses and do business with one another — a veritable network of protection and division of the profits. Below, a summary of the principal ties of the bingo industry with the mafia.

BINGOMATIC PRODUTOS ELETRÔNICOS LTDA – um dos sócios é Alejandro de Viveiros Ortiz, apontado como chefão da máfia do jogo no Brasil. A empresa tem sócios no Panamá e pertence à espanhola Recreativos Franco.

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BINGOMATIC: One of its partners is Alejandro de Viveiros Ortiz, pointed to as the godfather of Brazilian gambling. The firm has partners in Panama and is owned by Recreativos Franco of Spain.

RECREATIVOS FRANCO S.A. – apresenta como donos os espanhóis Jesus Franco e Joaquim Franco. Criada em 1975, começou a faturar muito somente em 1997. Apontada como a financiadora das operações no Brasil.

RECREATIVOS FRANCO: Owned by Jesus Franco and Joaquim Franco. Created in 1975, became profitable only in 1997. Alleged financier of operations in Brazil.

BETATRONIC PRODUTOS ELETRÔNICOS LTDA – tem como sócios os italianos Giuseppe Aronica e Lillo Lauricella, além da família Ortiz. O procurador era o advogado Tiago Loureiro.

BETATRONIC: Partners include the Italians Giuseppe Aronica and Lillo Lauricella, as well as the Ortiz family. Represented by attorney Tiago Loureiro.

NEVADA S.A. – a empresa é dos filhos de Ortiz, Alejandro e Johnny. Foi absorvida por um grupo francês, Peffaco, que hoje detém cerca de 70% das cotas.

NEVADA: Founded by the Ortiz sons, Alejandro and Johnny. Acquired by a French firm, Peffaco, which now owns 70% of the shares.

Ai, ai Johnny
Ai, ai Alfredo
Quem é de nossa gangue não tem medo

If you are not getting information about this whole bingo business — Operation Hurricane charted that the bicho bankers of Rio were paying off judicial eminences to protect it — you are missing an essential part of the picture on anticorruption efforts in Brazil.

BMT – BRASIL MÁQUINAS E TECNOLOGIA LTDA – também da família Ortiz em sociedade com Giuseppe Aronica, funciona no mesmo endereço da BingoMatic. Aparece como uma subsidiária da Recreativos Franco.

BMT: Also owned by the Ortiz family, in partnership with Aronica, and has the same address as BINGOMATIC. Reportedly a subsidiary of RECREATIVES FRANCO.

NEOJUEGOS ADMINISTRAÇÃO E FOMENTOS LTDA – foi a primeira empresa a obter certificado como operadora da máquinas eletrônicas programadas depois de editada a portaria 23. É da família Ortiz em sociedade com Aronica.

NEOJUEGOS: First firm certified to operating electronic gambling machines under Order No. 23. Belongs to the Ortiz in partnership with Aronica.

DIMARES DISTRIBUIDORA DE MÁQUINAS RECREATIVAS LTDA – representante comercial exclusiva da Recreativos Franco, também tem como sócios os filhos de Ortiz. Giuseppe Aronica tem 25% do capital e o representante legal era o advogado Tiago Loureiro. Distribui as máquinas importadas pela BingoMatic.

DIMARES: Exclusive commercial represenative of RECREATIVOS FRANCO, with the Ortiz boys and Aronica owning a 25% stake. Its legal representative: Loureiro. Distributed the machiens imported by BINGOMATIC.

STARTEC LOCAÇÃO DE EQUIPAMENTOS ELETRÔNICOS LTDA – alugava mais de 1,3 mil caça-níqueis da BingoMatic em São Paulo. Também comprava e sublocava suas próprias máquinas, entre elas para a Tecnoturfe.

STARTEC: Rented more than 1,300 BINGOMATIC “nickel-hunter” machines in São Paulo. Also bought and sublet its own machines, some of them to TECHNOTURFE.

ASTRO TURISMO – transformada em Bancotur (Banco Turismo e Câmbio). Manipula os recursos financeiros do grupo.

ASTRO TURISMO: Transformed into Bancotur (The Tourism and Currency Exchange Bank). Handles the financial assets of the group.

DIRECTA SERVIÇOS ADUANEIROS – também dos Ortiz, servia para liberar as máquinas caça-níqueis no porto de Santos e nos aeroportos de Guarulhos (São Paulo) e Viracopos (Campinas).

DIRECTA CUSTOMS SERVICES: Also belongs to the Ortiz, used to get the machine through the Port of Santos and the Guarulhos and Viracopos International Airports in São Paulo.

TECNOTURFE – empresa supostamente de Tiago Loureiro, que teria comprado máquinas de caça-níqueis da Startec a partir de 1997. Segundo a Polícia Fazendária do Rio Grande do Sul, a Tecnoturfe alugava máquinas de caça-níqueis para bingos de Porto Alegre.

TECNOTURFE: Reportedly a firm belonging to Tiago Loureiro, who bought machiens from Startec starting in 1997. According to the state treasury police of Rio Grande do Sul, Tecnoturfe rented out “nickel-hunter” machines to bingo parlors in Porto Alegre.

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