NEWS IN ENGLISH – Supreme Court begins to examine money laundering in mensalão case

11/09/2012 11:19

Débora Zampier      Reporter Agência Brasil

Brasília – Yesterday the trial of Penal Case 470, commonly known as the mensalão, moved into its twenty-first session. This marks the first session to deal with the third part of the trial: money laundering.

The first part dealt with the question of whether or not public funds were involved in the what the prosecution called a criminal relationship between a group of advertising agencies, the Banco do Brasil and the Chamber of Deputies.

 The overwhelming majority of the court agreed that public monies were misappropriated and condemned (the vote was 9 – 2) the former president of the Chamber of Deputies, a founding member of the PT, João Paulo Cunha, along with Henrique Pizzolato, a director at the state-run Banco do Brasil. Also found guilty of misuse of public funds were the partners in the advertising agencies that moved the money around, Marcos Valério, Cristiano Paz and Ramon Hollerbach.

Also in the first part of the Penal Case 470 trial, the former minister of Social Communication in the first Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva adminstration, Luis Gushikin, was absolved unanimously by the court of involvement in the vote-buying scheme known as the mensalão.

 The second part of the trial dealt with bank fraud. Two of the four former officials at the Banco Rural charged with misleading and abusive activities in a financial institution, Katia Rabello and Joe Roberto Salgado, were found guilty by large majorities of the Supreme Court justices. The votes on the guilt of two other officials, Ayanna Tenório and Vinicius Samarane were split.

Yesterday, as usual, the relator, justice Joaquim Barbosa, began the proceedings with an oral presentation of his vote examining accusations of money laundering in what is called the “advertising core” (“núcleo publicitário”) of the mensalão case and transactions with the Banco Rural (the financial core “núcleo financeiro”). Politicians who made cash withdrawals as part of the scheme will be tried in future parts of the case. (another bank, the BMG was also involved, but accusations of fraud at BMG are not included as part of Penal Case 470 because they are being tried in a different criminal case). 

According to Barbosa, “Money laundering was carefully orchestrated with tasks divided in a manner typical of a criminal organization.”

Specifically, Barbosa cited technical reports that showed accounting fraud in the advertising agencies as they hid the movement of millions of reais as they were funneled through the Banco Rural and BMG to politicians allied with the PT.

Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English (content modified)

Link - Barbosa sinaliza condenação de réus do mensalão por lavagem de dinheiro