OP ED: James “JB” Bryson– THANK YOU to Mary Triny Zea and the editors of La Prensa for wrapping up nicely an expose of what I have been opining on at PNO.com. ODEBRECHT did not merely enrich the coffers of “others”, but please notice who is in this picture…………..
DIVISION OF BRIBES
Cachaça ‘, the second beneficiary of illegal Odebrecht payments
In the investigation of the Odebrecht papers, in a new filtration of the ICIJ, a new character emerges that is shaping up to be the second highest paid of Odebrecht. Its alias coincides with that of a popular Brazilian alcoholic beverage.
Mary Triny Zea , (Investigative Unit) Jun 26 2019 – 22: 14h
Alias Cachaça or Cachaza is the nickname of the person who received the most benefits from Odebrecht after Aguia, according to a recount made by this newspaper of leaked Odebrecht documents.
Odebrecht did not tell everything: filtering documents reveals new millionaire payments associated with the scandal
They were just over $ 16 million paid by the Structured Operations Sector, also known as the Odebrecht Bribery Division.
A large part of the payments directed to Cachaza are linked to companies that are directly related to politicians of the Panameñista Party . Among them, the law firm of the deputy and lawyer Jorge Alberto Rosas, as well as a society in which his firm is a resident agent.
Other companies belong to the former ambassador Jaime Lasso , who maintains that these are payments for lobby services rendered to Odebrecht, as well as to pay campaign expenses of the Panameñista Party.
There were a total of 55 transactions destined to Cachaza, almost half of them to companies already identified with Lasso and Rosas & Rosas, which includes V Tech, Ltd. and Poseidon Enterprises.
This research was coordinated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ, for its acronym in English) .
The discovery of the secret communications of the Division of Odebrecht Structured Operations – the euphemism used to refer to the bribery department or Caja 2 (Caixa 2) of the once unbeatable Brazilian company – marked a before and after in the investigations of the operation Lava Jato in Brazil. The discovery caused the opening of multiple research lines, giving way to new elements in this mega corruption scandal.
Despite the company’s efforts to keep its illegal operations under wraps and to have erased an indeterminate part of its secret communications, a group of journalists – made up of some 50 reporters from more than 10 countries, including the newspaper La Prensa – gained access apart from these vast communications, which contain information on their projects throughout Latin America.
The present investigation -as happened with the one of Mossack Fonseca- was carried out jointly and under the coordination of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and in collaboration with the journalists who had access to the documents.
It concerns the communications of the Drousys system, a platform used by the Structured Operations Sector (SOE) that “effectively functioned as a bribery department,” Odebrecht admitted in a statement as part of its plea agreement with the Department of Justice. U.S.
The Panamanian case
The journalistic team analyzed more than 13 thousand documents obtained by the Ecuadorian media, La Posta, and that it shared with the ICIJ. The documents are part of a new filtration, which includes spreadsheets, records, transfer schedules, bank statements, emails and copies of contracts and studies.
It highlights, for example, a file that contains some 600 banking transactions for 2014 for several countries, with data such as the “work” from which the monies come out, the “beneficiaries” -whose identities were masked with nicknames- and the Odebrecht society. who remitted the funds. All this amounts to tens of millions of dollars in transfers.
Transactions in the Structured Operations Sector include illegal payments in Panama. So far, payments of bribes to local and offshore companies have been identified during the government of Martín Torrijos , money that came from works awarded to Odebrecht in that period (2004-2009).
Likewise, there are abundant findings of illegal payments to relatives of former President Ricardo Martinelli and several high officials of his government, including members of his then political ally, the Panameñista Party, recognized, even, by the Brazilian informers.
Many of the payments that began to be made in the 2009-2014 period were extended until the first years of the current presidential period (2014-2019), although the payments come from works awarded by the Martinelli administration.
The same happens with the payments that began in the presidential term of Torrijos, which continued until the years of the last administration.
On the projects executed by Odebrecht in the government of Martín Torrijos and Juan Carlos Varela, the Public Prosecutor’s Office carries out investigations whose results are unknown until now.
It must be borne in mind that, after the Lava Jato operation began to develop, and as it progressed, the Structured Operations Sector was reducing the volume and number of operations, in order to avoid attracting the attention of the researchers.
The SOE was finally closed between 2015 and 2016, following the arrest and conviction of the then president of the group, Marcelo Odebrecht, and before the overwhelming progress of the investigations in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Odebrecht managed to accumulate in Panama an enviable portfolio of works -only or in consortium- that total about $ 9 billion. Local anti-corruption prosecutors have quantified illegal payments made in Panama in the order of about $ 100 million.
Only with the disbursements that were made in 2014, some in 2013 and part of 2011, the bribes paid with money from local works amount to just over $ 73 million, according to the data extracted from the filtering documents to the Drousys.
But the figure would be higher considering that there is evidence – corroborated by La Prensa – that the company erased an undetermined number of files containing other payments, some confessed by the informers, as well as what appear to be activities aimed at diverting funds, pretending payment fictitious works supposedly contracted by Odebrecht in Panama and that were “paid” to drawer companies.
This, in order to record accounting expenses, although in reality the funds were diverted to Box 2 for their illegal payments.
The $ 73 million was moved through 287 transfers – with money from at least 10 works contracted in Panama – through 32 companies.
Most of these transfers were made with money from the Panama Metro: $ 23 million. It is followed by the Madden-Colón highway: about $ 11 million; and the expansion of the Tocumen airport and the coastal strip, with more than $ 7 million each.
Money from these works was given to 22 people, transferred by the SOE. However, due to the company’s security policies, their identities were hidden with nicknames (codenomes), in the same way as those of the members of the SOE. These aliases were used in the emails and in the payment forms of the SOE. Only a few knew for sure who each nickname corresponded to. The key to know them is André Rabello, who was the Odebrecht superintendent director in Panama.
However, due to various circumstances, some financial operators of the SOE, confessed of their participation in the payment of bribes, also know some of these identities and have revealed them to the authority.
In the leak to which La Prensa has had access, money from works contracted by the State to Odebrecht has gone to the hands of persons or officials identified as Aguia, Amigo da Onca, Salario, Cachaza and Feira. The latter, assigned to Joao Santana, the strategist of the electoral campaign of former presidential candidate José Domingo Arias.
In the Drousys appear, in addition: Alemao, Canary, Periquito, Yemanja, Explorer and Rato Roeu. Each of them received more than $ 1 million in bribes in 2014, 2013 and 2011. But they are not the only ones.
It is highly probable that money from Panamanian works has been destined by Odebrecht for the payment of bribes to government agents abroad, so some aliases would not correspond to the list of Panamanians who received illegal payments from Odebrecht.
The greatest beneficiary is, without a doubt, Aguia, a word in Portuguese that means eagle, although it has other meanings, such as animal power, etc. Aguia obtained more than $ 26 million in 60 transactions that began to receive in 2009 and extended, at least, until 2014. However, the figure is partial, because, as already said, complete files of before 2014, ex profeso, they were deleted by Odebrecht.
Aguia received in 2009, for example, funds from Panaglobal Trading, SA, from Constructora Internacional del Sur, SA (both Panamanian companies). This is evidenced by a transaction of 23 June 2009, of $ 240 thousand, processed by alias Gigo, nickname of Odebrecht financial intermediary Olivio Rodrigues Júnior.
According to court documents obtained by La Prensa , Constructora Internacional del Sur was used to receive black SOE funds and send them to the bank accounts of the coimeados. He moved hundreds of millions of dollars through an account at Credicorp Bank.
This company was dissolved in 2014 by the firm Patton Moreno & Asvat, its resident agent since 2009, when it began receiving tens of millions of dollars.
Panaglobal, meanwhile, was dissolved in July 2018. Its dignitaries were prestanombres in more than 700 societies. His resident agent was Morgan and Morgan, from where they reported that the pertinent information was sent to the prosecutor’s office and “is part of a judicial file.”
Most of the payments to Aguia came from the works contracted by the Panama Metro (at least $ 7 million). La Prensa was able to identify five transactions carried out in 2014, through the companies Idaho Holdings, Ltd, Metx Trading Corp. and Sarawak Corp.
Idaho Holding, Ltd. is an offshore company through which more than $ 6 million was received and distributed among nine people identified by their nicknames.
In addition to Aguia, the subject identified as Cachaça (or Cachaza) also received black funds, which in documents examined by La Prensa appears to be the second largest local beneficiary of Odebrecht payments. Cachaça is a word in Portuguese that identifies an alcoholic beverage made in Brazil from fermented juice of sugarcane.
Metx Trading Corp. is a Panamanian company created in June 2014, whose resident agent was Alfaro y Calvo, who reported that he did not have a bank account and that there is one with the same name under the laws of Antigua.
Metx Trading received more than 9 million Odebrecht from March to November 2014. It is the second most favored company in the papers obtained in the filtration, preceded by Sarawak Corp.
The final beneficiaries of these payments, according to the Drousys system, were Aguia, Cachaza and Periquito.
In the Public Registry of Panama, there appears a company with the name of Sarawak Corporation, whose resident agent is the Panamanian Incorporated Lawyers firm. From there they reported that, as the company was created in 1982, they lost contact with intermediaries or shareholders. However, there is also a Sarawak Corp. under US jurisdiction.
Part of the 22 million Aguia received was deposited in accounts of the Deltora Enterprises Group. In these transactions, Aguia always appears next to Feira. The latter, as already mentioned, was the brainchild of Mimito Arias’ electoral campaign.
Aguia received $ 3.3 million in this company. These payments began in February 2014 – on the eve of the general elections of that year – and were extended until July 1 of the same year.
Aguia also received money from the company ZB international, Ltd. – an offshore company from Uganda – as well as from the Panamanian company Columbia Management, formed by the Ecuadorian Edgar Arias, charged in his country for illicit association related to Odebrecht. In addition to Aguia, they received payments in that society alias Hospede and Cachaza.
In the countless transactions of dirty money of Odebrecht, the second largest beneficiary – as already said – was Cachaza, according to the data of the documents compiled by La Prensa in this investigation.
They were about $ 16 million, through just over 50 transactions made between 2011 and 2014, plus a few in 2007 and 2008 (see table on the opposite page).
About $ 6 million of those funds came through the offshore Poseidon Enterprises. This partnership is linked to former ambassador of Panama in South Korea Jaime Lasso, who said that the money received was for electoral campaign expenses of the Panameñista Party.
However, these funds did not come from the legitimate accounts of Odebrecht, but from its Caja 2, that is, from the Structured Operations Sector.
Cachaza also received about $ 3 million in each of these two companies: Sarawak Corp. and Metx Trading; another $ 150 thousand in the company V Tech, Ltd. -also linked to Lasso-; $ 70 thousand more through the firm Rosas y Rosas, and 92 thousand from the Universal Shipping Bureau, of which Rosas y Rosas is its resident agent.
Deputy Jorge Alberto Rosas, partner of the law firm, has admitted that his firm received much more money: almost $ 3.5 million in 2010, from the account of Constructora Internacional del Sur, a company in the Odebrecht Structured Operations Sector.
Through the offshore Ever Spirit Group – in the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands – Cachaza received another $ 131 thousand in 2011.
Multiple Trading, which received $ 350 thousand on December 3, 2012, is represented by Navin Bhakta, investigated for possible bribes of Odebrecht and fugitive from justice for other cases. Bhakta figures as a partner in the Isthmian Energy Corporation Ltd. (linked to former President Martinelli and two of his sons), capitalized with money that came out of Cobranzas del Istmo, a government contractor in the last government. He is also mentioned in the scandal of the Financial Pacific stock house.
The Press contacted Multiple Trading to know what the Odebrecht payment was based on. It was reported that Bhakta has not been seen for more than a year. ” The administrative management of said company responded by email to this medium stating that “we have not had any relationship with the company you mention [Odebrecht]”.
Two other characters, hidden in bird nicknames, received funds in companies that have been investigated by the Public Ministry linked to another scandal: Blue Apple. It is alias Canario, which received $ 2.8 million in offshore Flerigan International, Ltd., in four transfers made between January and May 2014.
The second is alias Periquito, which received $ 400 thousand in 2012, in the offshore Jiu Shun International Co., Ltd. and $ 1.6 million in the company Metx Trading Corporation, between March and November 2014.
In the Drousys also appeared the offshore Dianthus Services, Ltd, of Arizona. Through this partnership, alias C. Pequeño received $ 350 thousand; and in Formatel Overseas, he received another $ 100 thousand alias Tres Musqueteros, money that originated from the Sanitation of the Bay project.
Formatel is a Panamanian company, constituted by the law firm Abalegal. Contacted by La Prensa to know the beneficiaries and the reason for the collection, there was no response. He only said that they owed fees as a resident agent.