Whatever Happened to the Secret Offshore Bank Account of Brazil’s Top Cop?

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/exemplary.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
“Exemplary reporting:” Veja on its relationship with Daniel Dantas, May 24, 2006. Source: Veja.abril.com.br. Click to zoom. Transcript to come. The timeline as posted seems to be incomplete.

Mino Carta (Brazil), editor of CartaCapital magazine, asks, “Whatever happened to that Veja magazine story that charged that several high-ranking government officials had illegal offshore bank accounts?”

Which is a question I am curious about as well. See also

The whole Dantas-Kroll affair gives me an headache, but I am hooked on it, and really want to know how it comes out — or whether it ever will. I mean, there were ex-CIA people involved in all this (allegedly), and the risk management division of a major U.S. reinsurer. If my gringo tax dollars got spent on any of this, I really think I deserve to know about it.

I translate, draft quality, pra inglês ver. Taking unpardonable liberties in the process, in my haste. Mino has a unique style which I do not claim to capture very elegantly (or qualify to pronounce upon the elegance, or lack thereof, of). But you get the gist, anyway.

Seria como se alguém ofendesse um semelhante ao alegar os maus hábitos da mãe e, ao ser processado por calúnia, conseguisse do juiz o condão da verificação prévia das aptidões da progenitora. Tempos atrás, o delegado Paulo Lacerda, ainda na chefia da Polícia Federal, informou que, antes de agir contra o banqueiro Daniel Dantas e a revista Veja, pela divulgação de informações sobre pretensas contas de autoridades brasileiras, a começar pelo próprio presidente da República, em paraísos fiscais, seria preciso esperar pela demonstração cabal da inexistência das mesmas. Recentemente, o delegado Disney Rosseti, encarregado do caso, ainda sob segredo de Justiça, confirmou as palavras do ex-chefe Lacerda.

It’s kind of like offending someone with statements about the immoral habits of their mother and then, when sued for libel, somehow convincing the judge to conduct a preliminary hearing into the aforesaid mother’s talents in this respect. Some time ago, Paulo Lacerda, still heading the federal police at the time, informed us that, rather than suing Daniel Dantas and Veja magazine for publishing information about supposed bank accounts belonging to Brazilian officials, starting with the President of the Republic, in offshore financial paradises, it would be necessary to wait for proof that those accounts did not, in fact, exist. Recently, federal police delegado Disney Rosseti, in charge of the case, which continues under seal, confirmed what Lacerda had said.

On the outcome of the Disney version of the case, see

I have been erroneously reporting that those reports were false, but apparently the fact is that, in technical terms, they simply have not been proven true.

Pretenderia eu abrir a porta escancarada ao dizer que bancos estabelecidos em paraísos fiscais não costumam fornecer os nomes dos titulares de contas. No caso, seriam, conforme reportagem de capa de Veja abastecida pelo banqueiro do Opportunity, entre outros, além do presidente Lula, o então ministro da Justiça, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, e o mesmo Paulo Lacerda. O qual, suponho, deve ter certeza de não ter escondido dinheiro no exterior.

It would be belaboring the obvious to say that banks in offshore financial havens are not in the habit of supplying the names of accountholders. In this case, those accountholders were allegedly, according to the Veja cover story supplied by Daniel Dantas of Opportunity, among others, President Lula, the Minister of Justice at the time, Bastos, and Paulo Lacerda himself. Who, I suppose, must certainly know that he did not hide money offshore.

Certo é caber a pergunta: que País é este? Acusações tão graves, a atingir até o primeiro mandatário, até hoje estão sem resposta. Por quê? Eis o primeiro mistério doloroso. Há outros, porém. Intermináveis. Citarei alguns, sem pretensões de estabelecer uma hierarquia entre eles, ao sabor da importância de cada qual.

The appropriate question here is: What kind of country are we living in? Such serious accusations, affecting the chief executive, and still no answer. Why? That is the first agonizing mystery. There are others, however. An interminable list. I shall cite a few of them, without attempting to rank them in terms of their importance.

Por que Dantas negou ter fornecido os elementos para a reportagem de capa de Veja para ser desmentido em seguida pela revista, capaz de reconstituir com profusão de detalhes os passos precedentes à publicação, todos relacionados com a ativa participação do banqueiro?

Why did Dantas deny supplying the elements for that Veja cover story, only to be belied immediately by Veja magazine itself, which showed itself capable of reconstructing in profuse detail each step in the production of the article, all of them related to the banker’s active participation?

Diga-se que profissionais de Veja insistem no envolvimento de Dantas. Um deles acaba de publicar um livro em que aparece o número da conta pretensamente atribuída ao presidente Lula, e lhe declina a origem: o infatigável banqueiro.

Let it be noted that Veja staffers insist that Dantas was involved. One of them has just published a book in which the account number attributed to Lula appears, a bit of information sourced to none other than the indefatigable banker.

I have been meaning to collect the reporting that appeared at the time and look at it in more detail. Which cover story are we talking about here?

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/brasil14.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

There was that remarkable cover on April 19, 2006 in which Veja calls the president “the No. 1 beneficiary of the criminal organization” (the mensalão, or “big monthly allowance”), for example.

Still hunting for the exact story. Oh, okay, it was this story on May 17, 2006.

What is interesting to see, however, is the vigor with which Veja began covering Dantas, in May 2006, after outing him as the source of that story, and going after Leonardo Attuch.

And the defense it published of its own action in the case, titled “An Exemplary Investigation,” giving its version of its meetings with Dantas in August and September of 2005.

I will show you that in a bit.

But more on that later.

E aqui não destoa outra pergunta. Por que, neste exato instante, desencadeia-se, no Brasil e na Itália, uma campanha para provar que o lobo é a Telecom Italia, enquanto sobraria para o orelhudo o papel de cordeiro? Quanto às intenções da movimentação toda, CartaCapital não tem dúvidas. Tem em relação às razões na escolha do momento. Haveria, por parte dos apaniguados do banqueiro, a percepção de que nuvens carregadas perfilam-se no horizonte?

And there is another question that might be pertinently posed here as well: Why, at this precise moment, is a campaign underway, both in Brazil and Italy, to prove that the big bad wolf was Telecom Italia, while the big-eared banker is assigned the role of sacrificial lamb? As to the intention of all this activity, CartaCapital has no doubt. … Could there be, on the part of the banker’s comrades, the perception of storm clouds gathering on the horizon?

Como foi esclarecido na edição anterior de CartaCapital, a atuação dos serviços de segurança da Telecom Italia não é menos condenável do que da Kroll a serviço de Dantas. É posterior, no entanto. Explica-se. Quando, no Brasil, a direção da operadora italiana entendeu que estava sendo espionada, e incumbiu sua segurança de cuidar do assunto.

As we explained in the last edition of CartaCapital, the activities of Telecom Italia’s security people are not less to be condemned than what Kroll did for Dantas. But it took place at a later date. There is a reason for this. When, in Brazil, the executives of the Italian operator learned they were being spied on, it fell to their security people to take care of the matter.

Marco Bonera, diretor de segurança de Pirelli e Tim na América Latina, graças à centralização de um sistema antes fracionado, vivera até então, 2002, dias tranqüilos. Diz ele ter criado um sistema ineludível, a qualquer sinal de alarme entraria em ação capilarmente sem oferecer ao espião a mais pálida chance de não deixar traços da sua interferência ilegal. Foi o que se deu quando Dantas convocou a Kroll.

Marco Bonera, security chief for Pirelli and for TIM in Latin America, thanks to the centralization of a system that used to be fragmented, had led a peaceful existence until 2002. He says he created an infallible system, at any sign of danger he could swing into action without give the spy the palest chance of getting away without a trace of the illegal interference. That was what happened when Dantas called upon Kroll.

Chegaram a ser encontrados nos escritórios de Tim e Pirelli aparelhos de escuta telefônica e microtransmissores, e desde aquele momento, 100% do trabalho do serviço de segurança da empresa passou a dedicar-se à contramanobra destinada a sustar a operação dantesca. Resultou em farto material, que certamente contribuiu para a investigação posteriormente realizada pela Polícia Federal. E na Operação Chacal, e no indiciamento de Dantas.

Telephone bugs and microtransmitters were found at TIM and Pirelli offices, and from that moment on, the firm’s security department was completely dedicated to a countergambit designed to foil the Dantesque operation. It produced plenty of material, which certainly contributed to the investigation later realized by the Federal Police. And to Operation Jackal, and the indictment of Dantas.

O processo chegou às mãos do procurador-geral da República, Antonio Fernando Barros de Souza, o qual, até agora, quatro anos após, não ofereceu a denúncia. Quanto ao disco rígido retirado pela PF do computador do Opportunity, depois dos entraves levantados pela então relatora do STF, juíza Ellen Gracie, acabou por receber a autorização de quebra do sigilo pelos desembargadores da segunda turma do Tribunal Regional de São Paulo em dezembro do ano passado. Por que até hoje o Brasil não lhe conhece o conteúdo?

The cases came into the hands of federal attorney Souza, who, to date, after four years, has not brought any charges. As to the hard drive extracted by the feds from Dantas’ computer, after obstacles removed by the chief justice of the supreme court, authorization was granted by the federal regional court in São Paulo in December last year to examine its contents. Why does Brazil still not know what it contains?

Giuliano Tavaroli, superior hierárquico de Bonera na qualidade de chefe da Security da Telecom Italia, no Brasil possivelmente apurou-se no seu mister, do qual já era mestre. É certo que na Itália montou um esquema de espionagem para atingir starlets e futebolistas, mas também políticos e empresários graúdos. Por conta própria, ou por ordem de Marco Tronchetti Provera então boss da Pirelli e da Telecom? Diz Tavaroli que Tronchetti Provera nada sabia. A gente permite-se duvidar. De todo modo, preso por suas façanhas, Tavaroli passou quatro meses em prisão domiciliar e hoje, em liberdade, mas réu em processo ainda em fase de instrução, deita falação.

Giuliano Tavaroli, Bonera’s boss in his capacity as chief of security for TI, might have some questions to answer in Brazil about his line of work, at which he is a past master. It is certainly true that in Italy he set up of an espionage scheme targeting starlets and football players, as well as politicians and big-time businessmen. On his own, or on the orders of Marco Tronchetti Provera, then boss of Pirelli and TI? Tavaroli says Tronchetti Provera knew nothing about it. We permit ourselves to doubt that. In any even, arrested for his feats, Tavaroli spent four months under house arrest and now, in freedom, awaiting a trial that is still in the preliminary stages, is talking his head off.

Beer and barbecue break.

Em primeiro lugar, em proveito da semanal Panorama, que pretende revelar um esquema de propinas destinadas a azeitar as relações com autoridades brasileiras. Trata-se de um complicador, a exigir resposta. Relativa inclusive à atuação de Naji Nahas, o cavalheiro que dispensa apresentações, contratado por Tronchetti Provera como mediador junto a Daniel Dantas, ao sabor de um contrato de 25 milhões de euros.

In the first place, to the benefit of the Italian newsweekly Panorama, which has set out to unmask a bribery scheme designed to lubricate relationships with Brazilian authorities. This is a complicating factor and demands an explanation. It has to do, even, with the activities of Naji Nahas, a gentleman who needs no introduction, who was hired by Tronchetti Provera as a go-between with Dantas, to the tune of €25 million.

E os mistérios alastram-se como mancha de óleo. Surge em cena Luciane, ou Luciana Araújo, brasileira, tradutora juramentada, incumbida, ao que parece de verter Tavaroli durante os interrogatórios dos juízes instrutores e no momento pronta a conceder entrevistas empenhadas em fortalecer a tese do lobo Telecom e do cordeiro orelhudo. E ela também alude à fantasmagórica conta do presidente metalúrgico.

The mysteries drag on, leaving an oil slick behind them. Luciane, or Luciana, Araújo enters the scene, a Brazilian sworn translator assigned, it seems, to interpret Tavaroli during judicial interrogations and at the moment willing to give interviews designed to strengthen the hypothesis that Telecom Italia is the wolf and the [big-eared banker, Dantas] is the lamb. She also alludes to the fairy tale of the metalworker president of Brazil. 

Weird incident that. Interview given exclusively to Consultor Jurídico, but to no one else.

If I were to leak the confidential information that I sometimes translate (though nothing even remotely this wild and wooly, mind you), I would never get another job in my life.

E há ainda a contribuição de figuras bem mais graúdas, sempre inclinadas a funcionar como amortecedores neste caso que envergonha o Brasil. Personagens que saíram do governo, e ainda assim continuam a manter notável influência e a proteger quem não merece.

There is also a contribution from bigger fish, ever ready to serve as shock absorbers in this case that has Brazil blushing. People who left the government and yet who maintain notable influence, protecting people who don’t deserve protection.

A reference to Zé Dirceu, I imagine.

In that same May 24, 2006 edition, Veja denied that it had vouched for the truth of what it published. It wrote:

VEJA não denunciou a existência de contas de petistas e outras autoridades em paraísos fiscais, ao contrário da versão comprada por jornalistas ingênuos nesta última semana.

VEJA did not denounce the existence of accounts held by PT members and other officials in financial paradises, contrary to the version bought by ingenuous journalists this week.

VEJA informou que um banqueiro poderoso tem em mãos e usa como instrumento para obter vantagens oficiais uma lista com supostos números de contas em paraísos fiscais do presidente da República e de autoridades brasileiras no exterior – isso é notícia.

VEJA reported that a powerful bank has in his hands, and is using it as an instrument to obtain official advantages, a list of supposed bank account numbers in fiscal paradises belonging to the president and Brazilian officials abroad. That is news.

The previous week, the magazine had reported:

Por todos os meios legais, VEJA tentou confirmar a veracidade do material entregue por Manzano. Submetido a uma perícia contratada pela revista, o material apresentou inúmeras inconsistências, mas nenhuma suficientemente forte para eliminar completamente a possibilidade de os papéis conterem dados verídicos.

Using all legal means, VEJA tried to confirm the veracity of the material handed over by Manzano [and compiled with Frank Holder, with whom they met in Zurich.] Submitted to examination by an expert hired by the magazine, the material presented numerous inconsistencies, but none of them sufficiently strong to completely eliminate the possibility that the papers contained true information.

Manzano, “owner,” according to the Veja report (he has a 5% stake last I heard) of “the third-largest media group in Argentina” and former Home Office minister under Carlos Menem. I wonder if Abril does any business with UNO?

The defense continues:

Foi essa a notícia que VEJA publicou. A revista deixou claro que não pôde comprovar a autenticidade dos papéis, que podem ser todos eles uma fraude. Mesmo assim, é custoso acreditar que o banqueiro tenha gasto tanto tempo e dinheiro na contratação e instrumentação dos melhores espiões internacionais e tenha saído da operação com um monte de documentos de fantasia.

And that was the news the VEJA published. The magazine made it clear that it could not prove the authenticity of these papers, which could all be a fraud. Even so, it is difficult to believe that the banker would have spent so much time and money to hire and equip international spies only to come away with a bunch of phantom documents.

Why not?

That is one of the things spies are good at: cooking up phony documents.

So let me get this straight: Veja could not corroborate the charges, or authenticate the purported evidence, but published it all anyway because they found the story plausible.

This reminds me strongly of “[technically speaking] I did not have sexual relations [stricto sensu] with that woman.”

The argument from plasusibility is now elaborated on:

Fosse tudo fantasia, teria o ministro Márcio Thomaz Bastos se abalado a, arriscando o próprio cargo, encontrar-se secretamente com o banqueiro Dantas? Afinal, Dantas não é o inimigo da PF, o investigado pela polícia e que, segundo o governo, falsifica papéis para derrubar o próprio governo? Fosse tudo fantasia, o ex-ministro José Dirceu teria se curvado aos interesses de Dantas sob a ameaça do escrutínio da Kroll, como mostra a ata da teleconferência em poder da Justiça americana?

If it were all just a fantasy, would Minister Bastos have sunk so low, risking his own job, as to meet secretly with Dantas? After all, is Dantas not an enemy of the PF, a target of a police investigation and, according to the government, falsified documents to try to bring down the government? If it were all just fantasy, would former minister Dirceu have bowed to Dantas’ interests, under the threat of scrunity from Kroll, as shown from the minutes of the teleconference in the possession of the U.S. court?

Incredible, these people.

“We never said it was true, and had no good reason to think it was, and never vouched for it, but we published it because we thought it probably was true, nevertheless.” Or too good not to be true. Or whatever.

In a sidebar to the story, an autohagiography by proxy of Veja executive editor Marcio Aith, “one of the most distinguished journalists in Brazil.”

Please. I have seen this guy in action — on Roda Viva, for example. He chops logic like Julia Childs chopped shallots in her prime.

O editor executivo Marcio Aith, de 38 anos, é um dos mais destacados jornalistas do país. Formado em direito pela USP, na Faculdade do Largo São Francisco, ele iniciou sua carreira na imprensa em 1990, na Gazeta Mercantil. Ex-correspondente da Folha de S.Paulo em Tóquio e Washington, ele estava à frente da editoria de economia do jornal em 2004, quando revelou que a empresa de investigações Kroll fora contratada pelo banqueiro Daniel Dantas para espionar adversários comerciais e integrantes do governo. Em VEJA, Aith vem desempenhando um papel fundamental na apuração dos escândalos do governo Lula. Foi ele quem desvendou as ligações perigosas do ministro Antonio Palocci com a turma de Ribeirão Preto e descobriu uma rede de sete contas secretas no exterior do publicitário Duda Mendonça, marqueteiro do PT. Agora, o nome de Aith volta a estar em evidência por causa da apuração exemplar que trouxe à tona o dossiê de Daniel Dantas contra autoridades brasileiras. De certa forma, trata-se de uma extensão das reportagens que ele fez sobre a Kroll na Folha de S.Paulo. Aith não larga o osso.

[tktktktktktk]

The “exemplary investigation that brought the affair to light”: Veja was approached and offered the material. It could not corrorborate any of it. It wound up running it.

You come to me and tell me my mother is hooker. The darling of the Seventh Fleet. Volume discounts during Navy Day.
I have her followed constantly for weeks and find her engaged in nothing more exciting than a bit of knitting.

But I decide to believe you anyway.

Because you are “one of the most distinguished journalists in Brazil.”

Ecce Veja.

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