Beware the Ides of October: “Plot to Assassinate Belo Horizonte Baldy!”

Marco Valério Fernandes de Souza: Kojak fan, mineiro, ad man and indicted slush-fund facilitation defendant. The hand gesture pictured in this Wikipedia portrait, in Brazil, by the way, means “shove it up your ass” rather than “okay.” A little Brazilian Wikihumor by the poster. Though the man’s maracutaias demonstrated a lack of partisanship rare in Brazil the “Minas big allowance” allegedly involved 17 political parties — the same has not been true of the two separate trials involving what looks an awful lot to me like they might represent the exact identical self-same embezzlement, influence-peddling and money-laundering scheme.

The former policemen is serving 15 years for entering the emergency room at the João XXIII Hospital in 2004 and killing a young man who had fired at his son.

The sceptre of Roger successively devolved to his son and grandson: they might be confounded under the name of William: they are strongly discriminated by the epithets of the bad and the good; but these epithets, which appear to describe the perfection of vice and virtue, cannot strictly be applied to either of the Norman princes. –Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 56

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane“ —Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Ex-policial denuncia plano para matar Marcos Valério: “Former policeman denounces plot to kill Marco Valério.” Ney Rubens of Terra (Brazil) — “direct from Belo Horizonte” — reports.

As a fan of journalism about forensic accounting, I always find it extremely weird, the degree to which this scandal over money-laundering into political slush funds down here in Brazil fails to obey the first principle of such reporting: follow the money.

In this case, all the money allegedly flowed through Belo Horizonte Baldy. He is the Abramoff of the case, the “financial-propaganda nucleus” of it, so it only makes sense to apply the same naming convention. It is the valeriodúto — the Belo Horizonte Baldy Pipeline of Pecuniary Peculiarities.

He and his associates have accumulated some 730 criminal charges in that case, and may accumulate more in this one. But in the first phase of the case, at least, the press has focused narrowly on 4 politicians who accumulated 28 indictments between them. See

The second phase of the case — variously referred to as “the Minas Gerais big allowance” and “the dress rehearsal for the big allowance” — even though twice as much money allegedly moved through the “dress rehearsal” or “gateway,” as the folks at CartaCapital were pointing out just the other day — involves a list with the names of 159 political candidates, allegedly recipients (witting or unwitting) of campaign donations through the scheme.

Em depoimento na tarde desta quinta-feira na Justiça Federal em Belo Horizonte, o ex-policial civil Marco Túlio Prata, o Pratinha, acusou o irmão, o ex-contador da agência DNA Propaganda, Marco Aurélio Prata, de comandar um atentado e planejar a morte do empresário Marcos Valério Fernandes dos Santos e do seu ex-sócio, o publicitário Ramon Hollerbach Cardoso.

In a statement to police this Thursday at the federal courthouse in Belo Horizonte, former state judicial policeman Marco Túlio “Pratinha” Prata accused his brother, former DNA Propaganda accountant Marco Aurélio Prata, of plotting and leading an attempt on the life of Marcos Valério Fernandes dos Santos and his former partner, Ramon Hollerbach Cardoso

Tully (Cicero) accuses Marcus Aurelius of conspiring to assassinate Marcus Valerius. Beware the ides of October! I often feel I am reading a particularly Byzantine chapter from Gibbons when I read the crime section of a Brazilian newspaper, in fact.

Marcelo Leonardo, advogado do empresário Marcos Valério, acompanhou o depoimento do ex-carcereiro e antecipou que o cliente não vai comentar as denúncias. À juíza Raquel de Lima Vasconcelos, Pratinha reclamou ser o único preso no escândalo do mensalão até hoje e apresentou uma série de acusações contra o irmão.

Marcelo Leonardo, attorney for Marcos Valério, was present at the testimony of the ex-prison guard and said his client will not comment on the charges. To Judge Vasconcelos, Prata complained of being the only “big allowance” suspect in jail to date and made a series of accusations against his brother.

Segundo o ex-policial, a motivação do atentado seria financeira. Ele teria insinuado que o irmão pode ter ficado sem receber “algum dinheiro”. O ex-policial disse que Marco Aurélio Prata pediu a ele, por duas vezes, que matasse o empresário Marcos Valério, mas ele teria recusado.

According to the ex-cop, the motive for the attempt on the man’s life was financial. He reportedly insinuated that his brother might have failed to get “a sum of money.” The ex-cop said his brother asked him on two occasions to kill the advertising executive, but that he refused.

“Reportedly insinuated?” And what is Terra’s source on this? The Bald Man’s lawyer is the only person quoted here, but only as saying his client would have “no comment.”

Marco Túlio Prata cumpre 15 anos de prisão por ter invadido o pronto-socorro do Hospital João XXIII em 2004 e matado um rapaz que havia atirado contra o filho dele.

The former policemen is serving 15 years for entering the emergency room at the João XXIII Hospital in 2004 and killing a young man who had fired at his son.

Holy moly.

O advogado do ex-contador de Marcos Valério informou que não vai mais defender o cliente. Paulo Sérgio de Abreu e Silva alega problemas particulares para deixar o caso, mas deixou a entender que as denúncias apresentadas pelo ex-carecereiro o pegaram de surpresa.

The attorney for the former accountant said he is no longer going to defend his client. Paulo Sérgio de Abreu e Silva pled personal problems as reason for abandoning the case, but let it be understood that the charges made by the ex-prison guard took him by surprise.

“Não fui à audiência hoje e acho que nem vou lá amanhã. Fiquei sabendo por vocês o que o Pratinha falou. Eu nunca soube disso, e se soubesse não defenderia o irmão dele. Mas esse caso está muito enrolado, acho que não vou continuar com ele não”, afirmou.

“I did not attend the hearing today and I don’t think I am coming in tomorrow, either. I am hearing what Pratinha said from you. I never heard this before, and if I had, I wouldn’t be defending his brother. But this case just goes on and on, I don’t think I’ll go on representing him, no way,” he stated.

That is not exactly formerly petitioning to be let off the case, is it?

Best practice is to just quote the guy, rather than offering an interpretation of his words, backed by the quote.

Ney Rubens seems to be working in “breathless but hazy” sensational scoop mode here.

Na ação penal por sonegação fiscal movida contra Marcos Valério e os ex-sócios que tramita na 9ª Vara Federal de Belo Horizonte, o ex-policial é acusado de ocultação e destruição de documentos fiscais.

In the criminal case for tax evasion which the DNA executive and his ex-partners face in the 9th Federal Bar of Belo Horizonte, the ex-cop is accused of hiding and destroying financial documents.

A denúncia do Ministério Público Federal aponta sonegação de R$ 54,7 milhões em impostos entre os anos de 1999 e 2002. Em 2005, ao cumprir um mandado de busca e apreensão de armas na casa do ex-carcereiro, a Polícia Civil flagrou Pratinha queimando, em tambores, notas fiscais emitidas pelas agências de Valério.

The federal indictment indicates tax evasion in the amount of R$54.7 million between 1999 and 2002. In 2005, while serving a search warrant for weapons in the ex-cop’s house, the state judicial police caught Pratinha burning invoices issued by the ad agencies of Marcos Valério in barrels.

The notion that a show trial of four political figures from the current party of government is an adequate response to illegal activities which pretty clear fuel the entire partisan political system — and have done so at least since the dawn of time — is an amazingly stupid and useless one.

And yet it has its hysterical defenders among the owners of the gazillion-jigawatt megaphone of the mass media down here.

What you wanna do, I think is (1) find out what everyone has been doing, and (2) figure out how much of that was against existing law.

If enough of what everybody was doing was technically legal that you find there are not sufficient disincentives to this undesirable conduct — if only 4 of 160+ get borked, then you have a 97.5% chance of not getting borked, right? — you might think about (3) passing a stricter law against this kind of nonsense, and actually enforcing it.

I think there might even be some legislation in the pipeline on the subject at the moment.


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