Daniel Dantas: “‘They’ Hired a PR Firm to Ratfink Me!”

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Snippet of the Frank Holder dossier as it ran in Veja magazine in 2006. The experts Veja says it hired — whom it did not name, as far as I know — could not conclusively prove that it was not just a crude Sino-Paraguayan knockoff. Claims Veja.

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can’t help it if I’m lucky

–Bob Dylan, “Idiot Wind”

Still rummaging through the complaints and answers in International Equity Investments, Inc. v. Opportunity Equity Partners, Ltd., et ano., trying to get a handle on the aspect of the case involving mutual charges of media-driven ratfink campaigns.

I find myself interested in media-driven ratfink campaigns as a literary genre, as you know.

Critics and adversaries of Daniel Dantas have accused him of mounting media-driven smear campaigns and industrial espionage.

He is currently facing criminal charges related to his hiring of Kroll to conduct oppo research that allegedly involved illegal wiretaps.

His defense includes the notion that he was the victim of media-driven smear campaigns and industrial espionage, including wiretaps, by Telecom Italia.

I have tried to follow the issue fairly carefully — stare at it too longer and you get awfully dizzy and disoriented, though, I tend to find — and have read about the Kroll charges and questions about the conduct of certain journalists in the case.

But the issue of Dantas’ allegations of being subjected to similar tactics is still kind of fuzzy in my head. Some of the news coverage that has come out in support of that thesis has been nonsensical on the face of it. But I am trying to get a better idea of who Dantas claimed ratfinked him, and why and how. This thesis seems integral to his defense.

With that general point of curiosity in mind, then, I am reading Dantas’ declaration in the case, in search of a concrete case that might lead me to some of the coverage that was allegedly the fruit of “bribery of journalists and media organizations.”

Who allegedly ratfinked Daniel Dantas? In his declaration filed December 5, 2006, in the case, he refers to testimony by a former head of one of the pension funds whom he mud-wrestled for control of Brasil Telecom:

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Let me look at those charges of wiretapping (Exhibits T and U) in a later post.

Exhibit F is the affidavit by this Mr. Freitag de Mello.

This seems to be the paragraph referred to:
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I hate to speak ill of a colleague — I will not embarrass the guy by reproducing the letterhead the translation is printed on — but it is not especially well translated.

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Some factual reference points, then, to zoom in on: (1) The Deloitte, DBO Direct and “other” audits; and (2) the hiring of “FSB company” to “orchestrate” a “truly defamatory” campaign against [Dantas].

FSB is an Ogilvy PR partner, has a cooperation agreement with Llorente & Cuenca, and is part of the RBCE network of corporate communications agencies. According to its Web site.

It lists the Ministry of Tourism, created in 2003, as a current client.

Past political clients it lists include the National PSDB, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, as well as the Fome Zero (“Zero Hunger”) social program under Lula I, and two politicians: Julio Lopes (PP, current state secretary of transportation for Rio) and Márcio Fortes (PSDB, Rio.)

I am not sure whether that list is supposed to be selective or complete.

Its Web site does not list any of those pension funds as current or former clients.

Who was it allegedly contracted by?

It does report having done work for Telemig Celular Participações — one of the Opportunity-controlled telecoms — however. What work did it do for Telemig? When?

That seems like an interesting case to starting digging into.

Who, allegedly, hired FSB? To do what? What did they allegedly get for their money? What were the contents of the allegedly “defamatory campaign”?

Freitag himself was sued by PREVI at one point — after his departure, apparently — along with the journalist “Leonardo Altuori” of IstoÉ Dinheiro magazine and Henrique Pizzolato, according to a report in Consultor Jurídico frmo 2004.

Queixa-crime da PREVI contra o jornalista Leonardo Altuori, autor da reportagem da Revista Isto É Dinheiro, Antonio Luiz Freitag de Mello e Henrique Pizzolato.

I am guessing they mean Leonardo Attuch, but I need to check that.

The article in dispute appeared in “edição nº 308, de 23 de julho de 2003 da revista Isto É Dinheiro [sic].”

Back numbers of that magazine are sort of hard to find. When I clicked on the link labeled “previous editions” and it simply opened the front page inside a new nested frame.

That might be another case to dig into, on the other side of the “who media-ratfinked who” issue in this case.

Look, these are just notes on a work in progress.

There are dueling claims of media-driven ratfinks in this byzantine case, and I would just like to arrive at some of the alleged ratfinks pointed to as evidence of this orchestrated campaign of defamation so I can read them for myself.

More soon.

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