Tag Archives: Tacla Duran

Leaked video shows clear bias in Lava Jato prosecution

sergio-moro-lava-jato.jpg

Image: Sergio Moro from: Wikipedia

| By BRIAN MIER

Extramural Contributor at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

As ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva continues his appeal against charges of bribery that revolve around the gift of a beachfront apartment which courts were unable to prove he either owned or set foot on a property to a series of graver corruption misdeeds that led to charges against important members of the neoliberal Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Brazilian Social Democrat Party, PSDB), which governed Brazil from 1994-2002, have been dismissed by the Brazilian judiciary.[i] During the past month, two of the PSDB’s most powerful politicians, Jose Serra and Aecio Neves, filed motions for dismissal of charges related to the misappropriation of millions of dollars of funds. On January 24, Federal Public Prosecutor Raquel Dodge requested that the Supreme Court dismiss corruption charges against Serra, PDSB’s 2010 presidential candidate, for receiving over $2 million in off-the-books campaign donations from JBS meat packing company, on grounds of the senator’s advanced age.[ii] On January 26, the Supreme Court dismissed Lava Jato related charges against Neves, PDSB’s 2014 presidential candidate, for receiving millions of dollars in bribes from Petrobras, the Brazilian national petroleum company. For Neves, this was one in a series of multi-million dollar charges which came in the wave of the anti-corruption Lavo Jato crusade, that have been dismissed since he was thrown out of, then reinstated to the Senate in 2017.[iii] [iv] [v]

The vast disparity in the due process observed between the Worker’s Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) and conservative opposition parties has raised serious doubts about the motives behind the Lava Jato investigation itself. Even the Brazilian Army stepped into the debate, recently posting an article on its web site accusing Judge Sergio Moro and his Lava Jato investigation team of destroying encryption codes to five computer hard drives seized from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht’s Swiss offices which reportedly contained the entire history of its bribes paid out to government officials.[vi] [vii] This evidence, the author said, would enable prosecutors to build a legitimate case against politicians who had been accused rather than having to rely exclusively on plea bargains, most of which have resulted in vastly reduced sentences and partial retention of assets for collaborators.[viii] Meanwhile, former Odebrecht lawyer Tacla Duran has accused the Lava Jato defense team of fabricating evidence and building a “sentence reduction selling industry”, an accusation which appears credible despite its biased source, due to the fact that the law firm of Sergio Moro’s wife has negotiated plea bargain deals with Moro and his team as part of the Lava Jato investigation.[ix] On February 16, as evidence continued to showing partisan bias and corruption within the Lava Jato investigation itself, a video surfaced in which Pedro Barusco, former Petrobras director, admits that he started collecting bribes in 1996, during the PDSB presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso , but that the Lava Jato prosecution team asked him to confess only to bribes received after Lula became president in 2003.

Pedro Barusco’s case is one of many that raises questions about how the plea bargains were negotiated by Sergio Moro’s prosecution team. Originally sentenced to 47 years, Barusco negotiated a plea bargain which lowered his sentence to 15, then, without serving a day of time, he was put under limited house arrest, which only requires him to be at home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The translated transcripts of the video read as follows:

Cristiano Zanin (Lula’s Defense Lawyer): You say here that you began to receive these undue advantages in 1997, correct?

Pedro Barusco: There may be a bit of imprecision in my statement, it could have been 1996, or 1998, but it was during this period.

Zanin: You also mentioned in your testimony today, that there is a spreadsheet that you created during the period in which you were negotiating your plea bargain deal with the public prosecutors. Correct?

Barusco: No, I made the spreadsheet during the period in which I was giving my testimony. I had already signed the plea bargain deal by that time.

Zanin: OK. So you had already made the deal with the public prosecutors’ office and so when you began your testimony you created this spreadsheet, correct?

Barusco: Correct.

Zanin: So I will ask you, if you started receiving undue advantages in 1996, why does your spreadsheet start in 2003?

Barusco: (long pause) Because of the following. Let me explain how I made the spreadsheet. I left Petrobras, after a period of 8 years as the executive director of engineering. So, when I left, I decided to make a recording, I made an official request to the computer department, they made a backup for me, OK, because I had many documents, I had signed a lot of documents of all kinds. So I asked them to make a copy of it and I had this copy. And these management acts of mine started in 2003 when I took over the engineering department, so I based my spreadsheet from 2003 to 2011 which is when I left. During the period before 2003, this issues were basically covered in another deal that I made in Rio de Janeiro involving bribes paid by the Dutch company SBM, so this part before 2003 was the objective of this other plea bargaining process in Rio de Janeiro.

Zanin: OK, but in reality you started receiving undue advantages before 2003. This spreadsheet does not reflect the entire period in which you received undue advantages.

Barusco: Obviously.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPyGERmhdX8

This is not the first time that the Lava Jato investigation team has ignored corruption allegations that took place during Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s presidency. In June 2016, during a plea bargain by former Petrobras director Nestor Cerveró, he told investigators that they paid a $100 million bribe to cabinet members in Cardoso’s government in 2002, during the Petrobras acquisition of Pérez Companc, an Argentine petroleum company.[x]

In March 2016, Delcídio do Amaral, Petrobras director from 1999 to 2001, testified about corruption schemes going from the Itamar Franco presidency through Fernando Henrique Cardoso, including $100 million in kickbacks to government officials during construction of an offshore oil drilling platform, which took place between 1995 and 2000.[xi] The platform sunk in 2001, killing 11 workers. [xii]

Lava Jato prosecution judge Sergio Moro has close ties with the US State Department and is a frequent speaker at neoliberal think tanks in the US such as the Wilson Center and AS/COA. At one speech at the Wilson Center in July 2016, Moro was asked about his refusal to prosecute corrupt politicians from the PSDB, to which he replied “This Party was in the opposition, so it wouldn’t make sense.”. [xiii] At the time he made the speech,however, two time presidential election runner up for the PSDB, José Serra, was serving as Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations. [xiii]

Moro’s justification for not prosecuting members of the PSDB seems suspicious since his wife Rosangela, whose law firm (Zucolotto Associados, ZA) negotiates Lava Jato plea bargains with corrupt businessmen, has also worked as legal advisor to Flavio Arns, Vice-Governor of Paraná for the PSDB. In another apparent conflict of interest, at the outset of the Lava Jato investigation ZA represented petroleum companies who directly benefit from the breakup of Petrobras, including INGRAX and Royal Dutch Shell. [xiv]

Despite the serious conflicts of interest within the Lava Jato investigation Sergio Moro continues to be treated as a hero in the American business community. On March 2, the corporate-funded think tank AS/COA, which recently held a private meeting with neo-fascist presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, will hold an event honouring Latin America’s “top corruption fighters,” featuring a speech by Moro.[xv]

Additional editorial support provided by ALINE PIVA, Research Fellow, and KEITH A. CARR, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

To view the original Council of Hemispheric Affairs article online, please click here.

References
[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/opinion/brazil-lula-democracy-corruption.html
[ii]http://politica.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,raquel-dodge-pede-arquivamento-de-inquerito-contra-serra-no-stf,70002164386
[iii]http://www.nocaute.blog.br/brasil/pedido-de-investigacao-contra-aecio-neves-e-arquivado-no-stf.html
[iv] https://www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/materias/2017/10/17/senado-devolve-mandato-a-aecio-neves
[v]http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2017/05/1885480-jbs-diz-que-pagou-r-60-milhoes-em-propina-para-aecio-neves-em-2014.shtml
[vi]http://www.brasilwire.com/brazilian-army-why-is-the-lava-jato-team-burying-evidence/
[vii]For example, Alberto Yousseff is expected to recuperate R$20 million as part of his plea bargain (https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/youssef-pode-recuperar-ate-20-milhoes-com-delacao-premiada-15143551)
[viii]http://www.brasilwire.com/corrupt-lava-jato-sergio-moros-sentence-reduction-industry/
[ix]http://www.brasilwire.com/corrupt-lava-jato-sergio-moros-sentence-reduction-industry/
[x] https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/cervero-relatou-propinas-de-mais-de-meio-bilhao-de-reais-desde-2002-19447940
[xi]https://noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/politica/lava-jato/em-delacao-delcidio-relata-corrupcao-na-petrobras-nos-governos-de-itamar-e-fhc,17d81a5ef81954267f3965d1a1dbb147nqvmtoaq.html
[xii]http://acervo.oglobo.globo.com/fatos-historicos/em-2001-explosao-da-plataforma-36-deixou-11-mortos-na-bacia-de-campos-9483525
[xiii]http://www.redebrasilatual.com.br/blogs/helena/2017/12/jose-serra-e-aloysio-nunes-estao-perto-de-se-livrar-de-investigacao-de-propinas
[xiv]https://www.cartamaior.com.br/?/Editoria/Politica/Esposa-de-Juiz-da-lava-Jato-e-assessora-juridica-de-Vice-de-Beto-Richa-PSDB-/4/32372

Interpol accuses Sergio Moro of violation of human rights

doria-moro
Photo: William Volcov

By Miguel do Rosário

Jorunalist Bob Fernandes alerted, via Twitter:

CLOSE ATTENTION. In article 54 one of the reasons of Interpol withdrawing Tacla Duran from the red alert list: doubts about the conduct of the judge responsible (Moro) sufficient to violate article 2; cooperation can only be given with fundamental rights guaranteed. https://t.co/l3UsvQcs04

— Bob Fernandes (@Bob_Fernandes) 4 August 2018

Interpol understood that Sergio Moro violated article 2 of Interpol’s own Constitution.

Article 2 (1): To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights

From the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo

Interpol takes Tacla Duran off the international wanted list

The investigation agency complied with a request from the lawyer and suspended the international red alert against his name since September 2016

Jamil Chade CORRESPONDENT / GENEVER Katna Baran, O Estado de S.Paulo

4 August 2018

Interpol, the international investigation agency, took the lawyer Rodrigo Tacla Duran off the body’s international wanted list. At the request of the defence, the agency suspended the red alert against his name since September 2016 made at the request of Brazilian Justice. Tacla Duran’s defence placed in check the impartiality of Judge Sérgio Moro to judge the case. The argument was the fact that the judge had cited the lawyer during the programme Roda Viva on TV Cultura.

Tacla Duran presented three arguments to Interpol to justify his request that the red alert on his name be withdrawn: his case had been transferred in part from Brazil to Spain, the rights to due legal process in Brazil had not been fulfilled and to complete the case, Spain had rejected his extradition from there.

According to Interpol, Tacla Duran presented “evidence that was easily verifiable from open sources”, that Moro “spoke publicly about him during an interview” about the case, placing the impartiality of the Lava Jato judge in Curitiba under suspicion.

“The Commission then considered that the allegations presented (by Tacla Duran) which, given the behaviour of the judge responsible for his case in Brazil, sufficient doubts had been raised of the fact of a violation of Article 2 of the Interpol Constitution”, the agency indicated in a document obtained by O Estado. Article 2 refers to the need for the institution to promote cooperation between police from different countries, provided the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is respected.

The case makes reference to the interview given by Moro on Roda Viva on the TV Cultura channel on 27th March. As a fugitive in Spain, Duran accused Moro of receiving undue amounts of money through a friend to favour plea bargains in the operation. In the interview on Roda Viva, the judge said he believed it was just an attempt to remove him from the case.

The Interpol Control Commission has been evaluating the case since July. After an evaluation and in consultation with authorities in Brazil and Spain, the newspaper O Estado found that the commission indicated that the elements presented by Tacla Duran were in fact “new” and would have to be considered. According to the agency, such data could have led Interpol to a “different conclusion” about the suspect.

The decision does not mean that Interpol questions the Brazilian judicial system. But it does indicate that an evaluation should be made on each case before maintaining the lawyer’s name on the list. “The Commission notes that the guarantees of Access to Justice, as well as principles of equal treatment before the law, the impartiality of the Judiciary and fundamental rights, such as full and adversarial defence are in fact rooted in the Brazilian Federal Constitution and in the country’s legal system”.

The agency therefore established that the data on Tacla Duran must be “deleted from the Interpol files”. The body also noted that Spanish Justice “did not ask for the alert to be maintained”.

Tacla Duran has lived in Spain ever since the first indications of his involvement in the corruption scheme at Petrobras were revealed by Lava Jato. According to the investigations, the lawyer was an operator for Odebrecht in the payments of bribe monies abroad. Firstly, he was the subject of a preventive arrest warrant in the 36th phase of Lava Jato in November 2016. At the time, Tacla Duran was already out of the country and was not arrested.

He is wanted in a process of investigating crimes such as corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy in a scheme involving construction works worth more than R$ 1.8 billion with the Pipe-Rack Consortium at the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj).  He is also a defendant in another process, also dismembered, investigating crimes of corruption against Petrobras and an investigation involving concession and highways in Paraná state.

The 13th Court of Curitiba requested the extradition of Tacla Duran to Brazil for crimes, which was denied by Spain due to the lawyer double nationality. On April 11th 2018, Moro decided to transfer part of this process to the Spanish authorities, considering treaty provisions and the use of a company set up in Spain to carry out the crimes investigated.

Interpol refused to comment officially on the document. Federal Justice affirmed that his preventive detention had not been revoked in Brazil. The media office said they would not comment officially on the matter involving Moro, nor on the Interpol decision.

The Federal prosecution service declared that the preventive arrest warrant against Tacla Duran remained in effect and valid. In a motion for habeas corpus filed by the lawyer, the 4th Federal Regional Court (TRF-4) maintained the warrant, recognizing its legality. “The Federal prosecution service continues to adopt all due legal measures for it to be fulfilled, including abroad”.

For four years, the parallel power of Lava Jato has influenced the politics and economy of the country

Tacla Duran

Source: El País

14 June 2018

By Rodrigo Tacla Duran

Gag: the same as muzzle, a cloth or any object put in the mouth to impede someone from speaking or shouting. Using force and coercion to impede someone from speaking. The short  and precise dictionary definition shows that the gag is the sister of brutality and the daughter of authoritarianism with intolerance. On June 2, the lawyer Renato Moraes published an article in the newspaper O Globo exposing the harsh reality of a Brazil where Justice has given a bad example of despising the law and the Constitution. The brilliant jurist wrote: “We have arrived at the precipice of authoritarianism. There are those who are shamelessly outlining, the line of thought that between the Constitution and an indistinct will of the people one should side with the people, as if the Constitution were not the sole refuge against authoritarianism”.

In his criticism against so-called judicial populism, Moraes remembers that public opinion is the favourite child of published and media opinion in real time through the mass media. The aggravating: in this time of large scale investigations and exposure of the country’s inner workings, published opinion comes ready packaged from sources such as the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the police and even from judges. A large part of the media stopped investigating, from ensuring any cross-examination, becoming docile and poisoned channel of communication of those who decided to do justice despite any Constitutional and legal concerns, invoking the application of legal norms voted and passed by the United States Congress.

In this Brazil where first instance judges try to apply US law, where prosecutors rail at Supreme Court judges as if they were in a football stadium, and plea bargains are selective, I suddenly found myself in an unprecedented situation, where I am prohibited from testifying by legal order from judge Sergio Moro. I imagine a situation such as this may have occurred in the Vargas regime or during the military dictatorship, but in a democracy this is inexplicable. Besides being illegal, the prohibition is unjust as it violates the right of defendants to produce witness evidence they judge to be important in their defence. The only two times I was heard and could give my version of certain facts was on November 30th 2017 in the congressional inquiry into JBS and on June 5th 2018 at the Human Rights Commission in Congress. On neither occasion did the Prosecutor’s Office show any interest in the facts I spoke of.

I was heard as a witness by Justice representatives of Peru, Andorra, Switzerland, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico and Spain. Amongst the direct and indirect consequences of these hearings, one ex-Minister of Ecuador was imprisoned, the President of Peru resigned and Uruguay extradited an ex-member of staff of the BPA Bank to Andorra. All this was widely circulated in the international media. As if nothing of this were pertinent, I continue to be prohibited from speaking to the Justice Department in Brazil. I have never been allowed to testify, despite being called to do so five times by the defence of ex-President Lula.

Recently, Judge Sergio Moro overruled a motion from the defence of Marcelo Odebrecht to hear testimony from the lawyers Monica Odebrecht, his sister, and Mauricio Roberto Carvalho Ferro, brother-in-law. The testimony from the Odebrecht lawyer Marta Pacheco, as a witness for Marcelo, was overruled to respect the prerogative of professional confidentiality. It is quite right that everyone has prerogatives and these should be respected, including professional confidentiality. In this regard there can be no room for differing weights and measures. When I worked for Odebrecht, I had dealings with these three professionals on matters which the judge recognises as deserving of protection. However, the Curitiba task force did not have the same care for such prerogatives when they were dealing with me. In fact it was quite the contrary, they criminalized my work as a lawyer and pressured me the whole time to obtain the same confidential information as judge Sergio Moro decided to protect.

More than two years ago I freely sought out the Lava Jato task force in Curitiba. I was with the prosecutors in person on three occasions. I did not at any time disclose any information of any client. In all the meetings, I was dealt with as someone who was judged and convicted and I was only not imprisoned. I have been a lawyer for more than 20 years. I looked at that situation and thought this can not be real. How can they convict me without due process, without evidence, without sentencing me? The prosecutors of the task force in Curitiba never wanted to listen to me, to know what I had to say or to give any opportunity to the defence. They always wielded the threat of preventive custody. It is humiliating to be accused of crimes one has not committed, to be offended and disqualified publicly.

In not giving me the chance of defence, judge Sergio Moro is completely ignoring the Constitution, the Organic Law of Magistracy, the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedural Code, the Statute of Advocacy and the Statute of the Rights of Man of the Unite Nations. He even ignores the United States law, which He prizes so much, because there no-one is convicted without evidence and without the right to defence. Kant taught that legal action is unjust when it impedes the freedom of another and, in this specific case I am referring to the right to a full defence. Therefore no judge can adopt any conduct other than that provided for in the law, even if he disagrees with it. Injustice is a choice; and Justice is a duty. There are no shortcuts in the realm of the law. In order to convict someone, there must be an investigation, proof and defence. This makes for hard work and this takes time, but it is correct. In my case, no evidence has ever been produced against me, and an investigation in Spain has already been closed for lack of evidence.

There are grave facts not only concerning my right to defence, but also that of many others. The first of these is the disappearance of Inquiry 186/2016 from the São Paulo Federal Police. It has simply disappeared. Part of this inquiry was sent to the Commission of Inquiry into JBS at the time of my testimony. This inquiry is very important to my defence as it contains clarifications into the accusations laid against me. For two months my lawyers have tried to locate this inquiry. The Federal Police in São Paulo informed that they sent it to Curitiba. However, in Curitiba this inquiry does not exist because no-one knows where it is. The disappearance of the files belonging to the investigation is something very serious.

In my case, this is not the first time that such things have happened. Last year, I asked the Notary Office of the 1st Jurisdiction of Municipal Fiscal Executions of Curitiba for an object and standing certificate showing that the lawyer Carlos Zucolotto was acting as defence lawyer on legal suits involving my family. The Notary Office took about six months to issue the certificate and when they did so, it was done without the name of Carlos Zucolotto. After all this delay, the Notary Office informed that the power-of-attorney authorising the Zucolotto law firm had been taken from the case records without any written authorization from the judge and without any communication to the parties involved. A lawyer from my office received the information from the counter, or in other words, unofficially, that the power-of-attorney had been taken on the orders of Zucolotto himself. He alleged, according to the information, not having authorized the inclusion of this document in the case records. However, I have in my possession his authorization sent by e-mail. These very grave facts were omitted by the inspecting judge, who once aware of this, should have taken the steps to clarify this fact, because this is documentary evidence necessary for any motion of impediment or suspicion of judge Sergio Moro.

For four years we have been living with two judges, two Moros. The first has become a hero both in Brazil and abroad for his work in Operation Lava Jato and his intransigent posture in relation to corruption. He is celebrated in the salons of the United States and in the Principality of Monaco. The other is severely criticized by judges and lawyers unable to swallow the violation of rights, as in the case of phone-tapping the offices of the lawyer of ex-President Lula and of various search and seizure orders of law firms, including my own. He is also criticized by defenders of human rights both in Brazil and abroad for the practice of hindering the right to a defence and the politicization of criminal procedures in Brazil. This is the dark side of Sergio Moro.

The judge was irritated by me because He was obliged to inform the Federal Revenue Service Who the collaborators were in my office, and amongst those professionals providing services was the name of the lawyer Carlos Zucolotto, my correspondent in Curitiba. This professional relationship with Zucolotto has been going on long before any investigation into myself. I did not have the least idea that He was a friend and witness at the wedding of Moro. I was obliged to give this information to the Federal Revenue Service during the course of an audit of my office. This audit took two years and was twice extended. In the end, to inform the Federal Revenue Service concluded that I had not committed any tax or accounting irregularities, much less any crime.

Later on, in 2016, Zucolotto asked me for US$ 5 million in Exchange for his intermediation during negotiation of an agreement with the task force in Curitiba, whose contents were equivalent to a sentence for crimes I had not committed. Strangely, this uncomfortable truth was never investigated. However, recently charges of the sale of protection by other Curitiba lawyers have arisen, making the investigation essential in order to clarify any occurrence of influence trafficking, administrative advocacy or extortion.

Today, those who question the modus operandi of the task force in Curitiba in the production of serial plea bargains are considered an enemy of Lava Jato. I ask: are the lawyers who defend our rights, the rule of law and the legal  guarantees enemies of Lava Jato and accomplices to corruption? Do we have to be accomplices to the brutality, to the overriding of laws and the diminishing of rights practiced by public servants? All this is very much like that which the writer Hannah Arendt defined as the banality of evil in writing about the judgement of Adolf Eichmann in 1961.

Operation Lava Jato has become a centre of political power, able to destroy reputations, companies and institutions. In reality, it is a kind of parallel power which for four years has influenced the conduction of politics and the economy of the country without any such mandate and jurisdiction to do so. They have pressured Congress, the Executive and the Federal Supreme Court, trodden on the constitutional rights of lawyers and criminalized the defence lawyers as if they were the only ones to have legitimacy and the monopoly over ethics and morals.

When I was called to testify for ex-President Lula, I became a target of attacks from some prosecutors of the task force in Curitiba and was publicly condemned. At that time, I understood that I would never be accepted as a witness, neither for ex-President Lula nor for President Michel Temer, where my name was cited in the Prosecution Service charges. I shall not serve as witness to anyone, because that is what Judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors of the task force wish. The Abuse of Authority Law was called the Gagging Law, but they do not have the least scruples when gagging witnesses able to threaten their arguments and strategies of accusation.

Despite never having been convicted and with my extradition being unanimously denied by Spanish Justice, Judge Sergio Moro offended me live on national television, on the programme Roda Viva. Without the least ceremony, He broke with the decorum required by article 36, sub-section 3 of the Organic Law of Magistracy, and prejudged me and convicted me. If he has not heard me, never given me the opportunity of a defence, nor even judged me, as he has no authority, nor the impartiality to do so, and he can not and must not, in regard to the law, make any judgement of value, pre-judge, defame and slander. He is the judge, not the prosecution.

Justice is a good of democratic societies and must be exercised with authority, never with authoritarianism. When a judge issues an opinion against someone who is a defendant in their court, this is prejudging and violates one of the most elementary principles of human rights, the right to an impartial technical judgement, without emotional ties of any kind. Sergio Moro prohibited me from testifying, but he can not stop me from speaking.

Rodrigo Tacla Duran is a lawyer.

Consultor Juridico magazine

https://www.conjur.com.br/2018-jun-14/ricardo-tacla-duran-poder-paralelo-lava-jato