A judge in Brasília would have to accept the charges for Mr. da Silva to face trial. He is already a defendant in two other federal cases on charges of attempted obstruction of justice, corruption and money laundering in connection with a sprawling embezzlement scheme at the state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras.
Case study in thinly-disguised opportunity for corruption (emphasis added): The Mexican government’s
a $1.3 billion program to hand out close to 10.5 million flat-screen television sets to the country’s poor.
The government touted the program, aimed at low-income mothers, senior citizens and other welfare recipients, as a model of social inclusion and the best way to push the country forward from analog signals into the digital age. The number of televisions given away was equal to twice the sets Mexicans normally buy in a single year.
The TVs were given out last December, in time for the government to act as Santa Claus.
Where government billions go, corruption follows: no-bid contracts, import-duty exceptions, kickbacks, and loans from Mexico’s foreign trade development bank Bancomext.
Read the whole thing here.
Three headlines from Brazil this week,
1. Brazilian politician who led Rousseff impeachment is expelled from office. Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of the lower house, loses his seat and is barred from politics for eight years amid perjury and corruption claims
Cunha’s overwhelming defeat – by 450 votes to 10 with nine abstentions – strips him of parliamentary immunity and may be followed by criminal charges for his involvement in thebribery and kickback scandal at state-oil company Petrobras. He has also been banned from politics for eight years, a punishment more severe than that of Rousseff, who was ejected from office but maintains her political rights.
They accused him of being the “boss” of a huge corruption scheme that cost the state oil company, Petrobras, an estimated $12.6bn (£9.5bn) in losses.
Prosecutors had been investigating whether Lula and his wife failed to declare ownership of a luxury flat.
He has denied owning the penthouse and says the case is politically motivated.
A criminal conviction would bar him from running for president in 2018.
The government will sell operating licenses for airports in the cities of Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianopolis and Fortaleza by the first quarter of 2017. It also plans to sell rights to operate federal roads in the center-west and south regions later next year.
Center-right President Michel Temer has vowed to shift economic policy away from the interventionist policies of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, that marred investors’ confidence in the once-booming economy.
. . .
The program includes the concession of railway projects that have already been built as well as the long-delayed auction of rights in oil fields and hydroelectric plants in the first and second half of 2017.
The government will also privatize six power distributors owned by state-run power holding company Eletrobras in the north and northeastern regions.
Who knows? All of this may point to real change, which the country needs.
Last Sunday Jorge Lanata dedicated his show to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s money flow a.k.a. Cristileaks (video in Spanish),
In brief, Lanata’s investigation alleges that Fernandez and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, transferred US$492million to 123 sham accounts registered in the state of Nevada during the years they were in office (Néstor from 2003-2010, Cristina from 2010-2015).
In 2014, Lanata had petitioned a Nevada court to release information regarding Kirchner’s companies in the US under a federal statute that allows a party to a legal proceeding outside the United States to ask an American court to obtain evidence for use in the non-US proceeding. The Sunday show calls #Cristileaks a trove of 3,500 pages of documents itemizing the transactions.
The transactions involved banks in the USA, Latvia, Paraguay, Hong Kong, Andorra, and Switzerland (among others) carried by Kirchner proxies, and were managed through Aldyne Ltd. in the Seychelles. The people who served as Kirchner proxies benefited through commissions, pensions, and government contracts.
Additionally, Lanata alleges that U.S. authorities provided Argentina with the information gathered through their money-laundering investigation, and the Argentinian government ignored it. The investigation came about when Argentina refused to honor $50billion worth of defaulting bonds, as bondholders requested the investigation.
Clarín has a detailed report.
Fernandez denies any wrongdoing
“There’s only a small problem with Clarín’s note: They didn’t find an overseas account, nor undeclared or hidden funds, BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST.”
La nota de Clarín tiene un solo problemita: no encontraron una cuenta en el exterior, ni fondos ocultos o no declarados, PORQUE NO EXISTEN.
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) August 22, 2016
Fernandez threatened to sue.
La Ruta del Dinero K, also at Clarín.
Yesterday I posted the Lanata YouTube (in Spanish),
I didn’t have time to post on one of the topics Lanata covered, the Scholas Ocurrentes fraud (starting at 39:10 into the video). Luckily, PanamPost has the story:
Pope Francis’ Foundation Under Fire over Embezzlement Allegations. Journalists Reveal Subsidies, Incomplete Headquarters from Former Cristina Kirchner Administration
Argentinean journalist Jorge Lanata revealed that, during former President Cristina Kirchner‘s rule, the Planning Ministry financed the works to the tune of ARS$10 million (US$663,400).
However, the building, which should have been finished nine months ago, is only 40 percent complete and the expenses already exceed the budget.
The president of Scholas Ocurrentes, José María del Corral, said he was not aware of the building’s construction and claimed he was even asking the current Macri administration help to build one.
But the Sunday TV show aired images of a half-finished building with a sign clearly indicating the construction of Scholas Ocurrentes’ headquarters.
Furthermore, the former Planning Minister, Julio de Vido, had publicly announced the construction as part of the state program “Enamorar,” a AR$260 million (US$17.2 million) investment that also included other buildings and artistic and educational projects.
And then there were Cristina’s multiple visits to the Vatican (on which I posted about last year,)
Kirchner Propaganda in the Vatican
Another irregularity allegedly took place last year, in the midst of the presidential campaign, when Scholas Ocurrentes invited the Planning minister to set up a recital in the Vatican.
The event cost Argentineans AR$5.6 million(US$377,540) and was paid through the public Argentinean universities San Martín and Tres de Febrero.
The journalists claimed that during the event, which marked the closing of Scholas’ Fourth World Congress, an ad boasting the Kirchner administration was shown.
Lanata also reported on auctions for trips to the Vatican, which were unauthorized by Scholas, and the participation of celebrities, among them Messi, who – in unrelated news – was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in jail for tax fraud in Spain.
Must-read report by InSight Crime Co-Director Steven Dudley for the US Congress’ Central America Caucus:
How Drug Trafficking Operates, Corrupts in Central America
Some of the transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) have familiar names: the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas, and the Urabeños all have operatives in Central America. They purchase cocaine or coca base from producer nations like Colombia and Peru. And they oversee the movement of that product from production point to market.
In Central America, they oversee the second tier criminal organizations in these countries that provide the transportation for the illicit drugs. These so-called “transportistas” are often family-based groups with long criminal histories in contraband, human smuggling and other criminal activities, which give them a strong foundation to jump into narcotics trafficking.
Examples include the Cachiros, a Honduran-based organization that once controlled a prominent route through northern Honduras, betweenNicaragua and Guatemala. The Cachiros started as cattle rustlers who sold their stolen cattle to one of the country’s most prominent elite families. Over the years, their land titles grew as did their role in illicit trafficking. By September 2013, the year the United States Treasury Departmentplaced them on its “Kingpin” list, the Cachiros had accumulated anywhere between $500 million and $800 million in assets, much of which they had put into African Palm plantations, mining licenses, hotels, a prominent zoo-resort, and a local soccer team.
Read the whole thing.
While the people of Venezuela die for lack of medicine, Argentinean Authorities Investigate Scam to Sell Medicine to Venezuela: Businessmen Linked to Kirchners Allegedly Sell Medicines to Maduro Regime for 10 Times the Cost (emphasis added),
Infobae points out that businessmen Pablo Rubio and Juan José Levy, who owns Farmamed and Esmer laboratories, are behind the illegal export business. They’ve had business with Venezuela for several years now due to deals between former president Cristina Kirchner’s government and the Chávez-Maduro regime involving Argentinean medicine for Venezuelan oil.
Rubio and Levy’s scam was simple enough: Using expired permits,
the shipment’s declared amount was USD $12.9 million, while the invoice for the shipment which Laboratorio Internacional Argentino S.A. issued to Farmamed S.R.L., an export business, amounted to USD $780,482,000.
Cristina always caterwauled about vulture funds, ignoring her vulture associates,
Infobae reports that Rubio and Levy obtained their contracts due to their close links with Julio de Vido, the former Minister of Planning under Kirchner. As a result of the deals, Venezuela bought medicine from Argentina at 10 times their real market value in the midst of the country’s worsening medicine shortage.
In other Argentina news, Lanata was back last Sunday on Periodismo Para Todos; here’s the show (in Spanish). He starts with the safes Cristina built to keep her money,
A former public works secretary tossed US$7 million over the wall. The police took him away in body armor.
— Eleni Varvitsiotis (@Elbarbie) June 15, 2016
It turns out that López allegedly had approved state-funded projects at properties of the Catholic Church in excess of $626billion pesos (US$45million):
La relación de Lopecito con la Iglesia. pic.twitter.com/hm1hD6whZF
— Andrés Ballesteros (@gilmourde9) June 14, 2016
A woman attending the Pope’s public audience in the Vatican called out for the Pope to condemn corruption.