After Cisco: Swiss Remiss, Says Tupi Fisco

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Busted: Black-market currency trader "Little Tony From Barcelona" -- later granted habeas corpus to await trial in freedom.

“We are not going to become a Grand Caymans on the banks of the Hudson” — Manhattan D.A. Morgenthau on the indictment of Paulo Salim Maluf. See Rohter on Maluf: The Blind Eye Misreading the Blind Eye

Operation Persona is not the only action the feds are taking to uncover fraudulent import schemes run by businesses. Another, dubbed Operation X-9, conducted in São Paulo and Minas Gerais on October 25, caught black-market currency brokers who maintained accounts in Brazil and abroad for making illegal transactions.Convergência Digital (Brazil), November 1

Item: Executivos do UBS e Credit Suisse são presos pela Polícia Federal no Brasil (Swissinfo)

Fortunately, the Swiss news service is in the habit of translating the same coverage into the various languages it offers. More or less the same coverage.

Well, actually, looking at it more closely, the coverage in English omits most all the Five Ws detail and dedicates more space to the official statement from the affected firms.

After Cisco — see also

— Credit Suisse, UBS and AIG find themselves in similar hot water with the local fisco.

Observers say Brazil’s federal police have cracked down on money laundering and other white-collar crimes over the past three years.

I have observed that myself. See also

Last month police arrested executives of US-based technology and network company Cisco Systems. The company has denied any wrongdoing. The executives were later released.

That is not quite the case. Police preventively detained 3 Cisco executives and the founder of Cisco Brasil, who now leads MUDE, a systems integrator and Cisco reseller. And a host of other reseller executives. The Cisco execs were released. The latter, Mr. Carnevali, remains in jail.

Locally, the Estadão continues to focus narrowly on Cisco flap — the tree — while pretending that the forest primeval does not exist. Which is kind of a waste of ink, I tend to think.

Swiss banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse have confirmed that both have an employee embroiled in a money laundering affair in Brazil. The two employees are currently in jail in São Paulo. The sum involved in the fraud is reported to be around $500 million (SFr665 million).

That each has an employee embroiled.

I am just catching up with the outlines of the affair.

Brazilian police arrested 19 people on Tuesday on suspicion of money laundering and making illegal currency remittances. “We have taken note of the fact that an employee from UBS Switzerland has been arrested in São Paulo,” UBS spokeswoman Rebeca Garcia told the Swiss news agency, adding that the bank itself was not the subject of the probe.

The same official announcement was made in connection with the Cisco case: Individuals, some of them Cisco employees, were the target of the criminal probe, not the company itself.

The second case concerns Clariden Leu, a unit of the Credit Suisse Group. A spokesman for Clariden Leu said the bank was in contact with the authorities in Brazil. The 17 other people arrested are said to be Brazilian businessmen, managers and currency exchangers.

“Currency exchangers” is a rather bland translation of the term doleiro. On which black-market entrepreneurial phenomenon see also

Brazilian police say those arrested are accused of transferring money from companies or wealthy individuals without informing the proper authorities. The scheme is also alleged to involve the United States-based American International Group Inc., the world’s largest insurer.

Siphoned.

Ricardo Saadi, the federal police detective in charge of the investigation, said that in the past 18 months up to 1 billion real (SFr665 million) had been siphoned off and deposited abroad for unnamed local companies. These firms are then said to have used the money for acquisitions in the US and China that were in turn shipped to Brazil, Saadi was quoted as saying.

Know what your employees are getting up to in your farflung outposts. If they fuck up, take back the keys to your brand and show them the door.

The 19 people are under detention for five days while the authorities continue their investigation. They have not yet been charged. The investigation into the banks began after seven Credit Suisse executives were detained last year in a federal money-laundering probe, codenamed “Operation Switzerland”, Saadi said.

I will have to read up on that. This operation, called Kaspar II, is a follow-up to another involving Swiss banks and undeclared mountains of cash money.

This focused on allegations that large sums of money had been illegally transferred overseas for Brazilian clients. Saadi gave no update on the status of that investigation, but Credit Suisse spokeswoman Regula Arrigoni told news agencies that no charges had been filed against the bank or its employees in this case.

Yet.


White-collar perp walks: “The people like it that way.” The Caros Amigos cover story seems more and more like an astute piece of political analysis. Recently polls showed the DPF as one of the most trusted public institutions in the
gigante pela própria natureza. The OAB (the national bar association) consistently cautions against giving the feds a blank check, however, ominously invoking the ghost of J. Edgar. See also Brazil: “The Chief of the Politicized Gestapo Speaks”

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