NEWS IN ENGLISH – Supreme Court finds eight defendants guilty of money laundering in mensalão trial

14/09/2012 11:31

Danilo Macedo and Débora Zampier      Reporters Agência Brasil

Brasília – Penal Case 470, aka mensalão, the unique and unprecedented “original jurisdiction” trial that began in the Brazilian Supreme Court on August 2, completed judgment of the first money laundering chapter yesterday, September 13. Out of the ten defendants charged, members of what are called the financial and publicity cores (“núcleos financeiros e publicitários”) of the mensalão corruption ring, a reference to the fact that they funneled money used for bribes from banks through advertising agencies to politicians, eight were found guilty by a majority of the ten justices.

The defendants in this part (chapter or slice – “fatia”) of the case worked at the Banco Rural or the advertising agency owned by Marcos Valério, SPMB. Ayanna Tenório, a former director at Banco Rural and Geiza Dias, a former financial manager at SPMB, were found not guilty. The vote in favor of the innocence of Tenório was unanimous (10 to 0); for Dias the vote was 7 to 3.

The rest of the defendants did not fare quite so well.

·        Katia Rabello (Banco Rural) was found guilty (10 to 0)

·        José Roberto Salgado (Banco Rural), guilty (10 to 0)

·        Vinícius Samarane (Banco Rural), guilty (10 to 0)

·        Marcos Valério (SPMB), guilty (10 to 0)

·        Ramon Hollerbach (SPMB), guilty (10 to 0)

·        Cristiano Paz (SPMB), guilty (10 to 0)

·        Rogerio Tolentino (SPMB), guilty (8 to 2)

·        Simone Vasconcelos (SPMB) guilty (10 to 0)


Normally, the Brazilian Supreme Court votes cases as a whole, the justices following one another in reverse order of seniority, each of them making an oral presentation of their opinion following presentations by the prosecution and the defense, the relator and the revisor. The existence of the relator and revisor, who prepare detailed analyses of the case file for the other justices, is predicated on this format. 

In the mensalão, differently, the Special Master (“relator”) of the case, justice Joaquim Barbosa, decided to divide the case (slice it up or “fatiar”) so he could build his case to a kind of climax. Taking the path laid out by the prosecution (“MPF”), although changing the order of things, Barbosa basically set out to follow the money, beginning (1) with malfeasance and misappropriation of public funds at the Banco do Brasil and Chamber of Deputies in a misguided relationship with SPMB; next (2), bank fraud where he showed that financial institution officials committed crimes; and (3) money laundering at the Banco Rural and the advertising agency, SPMB.

To sum up: so far the relator and the revisor (justice Ricardo Lewandowski) have presented their opinion of the case and voted three times, as have all the other justices.

Other aspects of money laundering, along with corruption, in the mensalão will be dealt with in future chapters of the case involving defendants in what is known as the political core (“núcleo politico”), that is, members of the PT and allied political parties, including a former minister of Transportation, as well as the political marketer, Duda Mendonça and his partner, Zilmar Fernandes, who ran the 2002 Lula presidential campaign.

Barbosa’s mensalão climax, which was actually presented at the beginning of the MPF argument, is the charge of conspiracy (“formação de quadrilha”). According to Barbosa, his objective is to make it easy to put the mensalão conspiracy in context by first presenting all the other crimes.

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

Link - STF condena oito réus do mensalão por lavagem de dinheiro