December 4, 2013
William Jones – The Rio Times, 12/02/2013
The Military Police in Rio de Janeiro are Brazil’s most corrupt police force, according to the National Victimization Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Program for Development. The study also showed that the state of Rio is subject to more crime than the rest of the entire Southeast region, including São Paulo.
According to the research acquired by Brazilian daily newspaper Extra, the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro is in the top spot for police extortion in the country. The survey concluded that Rio’s Military Police is far more likely to demand bribes from citizens, as the state’s MP is behind over thirty percent of all reported incidents.
The Military Police of São Paulo, the state with the highest number of military officers, were responsible for 18.2 percent of all reported bribing incidents.
December 2, 2013
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 11/26/2013
There were the boxes of Cuban cigars, which cost about $500 each at a shop in Vila Nova Conceição, one of the most exclusive districts of São Paulo, and the $2,260 bottles of Vega Sicilia Único, a legendary Spanish red. Throw in a Porsche Cayenne, speedboat jaunts to tropical islands and all-night soirees with high-end escorts, and what do you get?
The unlikely lifestyle of a Brazilian tax inspector.
In one of the most salacious corruption scandals to captivate Brazil in years, the municipal government of São Paulo, the nation’s largest city, is reeling from revelations of a scheme in which investigators claim that a group of tax inspectors allowed construction companies to evade more than $200 million in taxes in exchange for bribes.
December 2, 2013
Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 11/28/2013
As many Brazilians are still watching incredulously the imprisonments of the principal figures in the Mensalão (“Big Monthly Payment”) scandal, the scheme in which public funds were used to buy political support for the then-Lula da Silva government and to pay off debts from election campaigns, one of the biggest questions surrounding the imbroglio is: how much money exactly was diverted into the pockets of corrupt officials and politicians?
According to the investigation initiated in 2005 and carried out by Brazil’s Public Ministry, the country’s Federal Police and the Brazilian Court of Audit, the huge cash-for-votes case involved some R$ 100 million ($43 million) siphoned from taxpayers’ money. No wonder why Brazil’s Attorney General Roberto Gurgel called it “the most daring and outrageous corruption scheme and embezzlement of public funds ever seen in Brazil.”
And that could just be the tip of the iceberg. A 2010 study by the FIESP (the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo State, in its acronym in Portuguese), the average annual cost of corruption in Brazil is between 1.38% to 2.3% of the country’s total GDP. The World Bank lists Brazil in its database with a GDP of $2.253 trillion as of 2012, while the OECD expects Brazil to grow 2.5% this year.
December 2, 2013
Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 12/01/2013
They were heckled and called slaves of a communist state when they first landed, but in the poorest corners of Brazil the arrival of 5,400 Cuban doctors is being welcomed as a godsend.
The program to fill gaps in the national health system with foreign doctors, mainly from Cuba, could become a big vote-winner for President Dilma Rousseff as she eyes a second term in next year’s election despite fierce opposition from Brazil’s medical class.
The move to tap Cuba’s doctors-for-export program begun by former leader Fidel Castro became a priority for Rousseff after massive protests against corruption and shoddy public transport, education and healthcare services rocked Brazil in June.
November 19, 2013
The Economist, 11/18/2013
NOVEMBER 15th is a big date in Brazilian history books: on that day in 1889 a military coup overthrew emperor Dom Pedro II and established Brazil as a republic. This year it was significant for another reason. Despite the national holiday the president of the supreme court, Joaquim Barbosa, stayed at his desk and wrote warrants for the arrest of 12 of those convicted last year in the so-called “mensalão” case, several of them high-profile politicians with close links to the government. Eleven spent the weekend in jail; a 12th turned out to have fled to Italy several weeks before. But just what was the mensalão?
The word, a Portuguese neologism roughly meaning “big monthly stipend” was coined to describe clandestine payments made by the Workers’ Party (PT), which won the presidency in 2003, to congressional allies in return for support for its legislative agenda. The scandal broke in 2005 when the president of an allied party claimed in a newspaper interview that the PT was paying several congressmen 30,000 reais a month (around $12,000 at the time). The money was said to have come from the public purse via fake advertising contracts signed by state-owned companies with corrupt advertising firms. The scandal was one of many that broke in quick succession, with others involving allegations that the state-run postal system had accepted bribes for contracts and that the PT had been extorting money from illegal-betting rings in Rio de Janeiro. Overlapping congressional inquiries ended up accusing 18 congressmen of involvement in the vote-buying scheme. The biggest name among them was José Dirceu (pictured right), who had been chief of staff to the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, until forced by the scandal to step down.
November 18, 2013
Folha de S. Paulo, 11/18/2013
Sentenced to 12 years and 7 months in prison by Brazil’s Supreme Court for his participation in the mensalão scheme, the former director of Banco do Brasil, Henrique Pizzolato, fled from Brazil to Italy and announced yesterday that he will request a new trial by an Italian court.
A Federal Police team was at this house yesterday searching for him, but his family said they don’t know his whereabouts. Yesterday Pizzolato’s relatives announced to the press that he has been in Italy for 45 days.
Pizzolato’s lawyer in the mensalão trial, Marthius Lobato, said he only was told yesterday that Pizzolato was in Italy and that he didn’t know how Pizzolato left the country. Pizzolato has Italian citizenship and had his European passport confiscated by Brazilian courts last year.
November 18, 2013
BBC News, 11/15/2013
Brazil has started to jail senior figures convicted in the country’s biggest corruption trial, the “Mensalao” (big monthly allowance).
The Supreme Court issued arrest orders for 12 of the 25 politicians, bankers and businessmen convicted last year.
Ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s former chief of staff was among the first to surrender to the police.
The “Mensalao” was a scheme that used public funds to pay coalition parties for political support.
November 18, 2013
BBC News, 11/14/2013
Brazil’s Supreme Court has upheld jail terms against most of the politicians, businessmen and bankers convicted in the country’s biggest corruption trial.
More than 20 people were convicted over a scheme to pay opposition politicians for supporting the former government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The court did not say exactly how many would be put behind bars.
November 7, 2013
Christopher Looft – In Sight Crime, 11/06/2013
Sao Paulo’s state government is rolling out new measures to combat Brazil‘s PCC prison gang, but there are reasons to doubt the group can be thwarted.
In October, a Sao Paulo court ordered the transfer of First Capital Command (PCC) lieutenant Paulo Cezar Souza Nascimento Junior, alias “Paulinho Neblina,” to the Special Disciplinary System (RDD), a form of solitary confinement, according to a report by Estadoa de Sao Paulo. The transfer of other PCC leaders is expected in the coming days, according to a more recent report by Estadoa.
The move wasn’t the first signal that Sao Paulo’s government has sought to crack down on the PCC, which dominates much of the state’s drug trade and other criminal activities. In a speech given on October 14, Governor Geraldo Alckmin announced the creation of a new task force to identify corrupt police officers working with the group. Alckmin also touted efforts to limit the group’s communications; he said cell phone jamming systems would be put in place in 23 high-security prisons across Sao Paulo state. He also expressed support for the transfer of the group’s leadership to solitary confinement in RDDs.