Cablegate: Brazil Corruption Scandal Update, Week of 10-14

Published: Fri 14 Oct 2005 08:01 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
Ref: Brasilia 2687 and previous
1. (U) SUMMARY. On October 12, the Brazilian Civilian
Police found the body of Carlos Delmonte Printes, the
medical examiner who initially determined that Santo
Andre's PT Mayor Celso Daniel had been tortured before
being shot dead in early 2002. Printes' death marked the
seventh among persons in one way or another connected with
the Daniel case. Also this week, five PT congressmen
requested the STF to delay the opening of their impeachment
process. If the STF rejects the request, they may resign on
Monday, October 17. Four PP congressmen and another from
the PMDB faced with similar charges are watching the
results of this appeal before deciding their own course of
action. Meanwhile, the results of the PT internal election
of last Sunday are almost all in - to the point that Raul
Pont has conceded victory to Ricardo Berzoini as the
party's next president. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) On October 12, Carlos Delmonte Printes, 55, the
medical examiner who initially determined that Santo Andre
PT Mayor Celso Daniel had been tortured before being
murdered in early 2002, was found dead in his Sao Paulo
office. The Brazilian Civilian Police found the body with
no apparent signs of violence; however, a preliminary
report released by the Sao Paulo Medical Law Institute
stated that Printes did not die of "natural causes". The
final report is likely to be released in 10 days and the
possibility of suicide seems most probable (although
homicide has not yet been absolutely ruled out).
3. (U) Printes initial analysis indicated that the mayor
was tortured before being shot dead. But the final report
released at the time did not confirm Printes' findings. In
early 2005, Printes publicly stated that he had been
pressured by politicians to say that Daniel's murder was
the result of common crime -- kidnapping followed by murder
-- and repudiate his torture accusations. Printes' death,
just days before a confrontation in the Bingos CPI between
Gilberto Carvalho -- President Lula's chief of staff, who
is accused by the Daniel family of involvement in an
alleged Sao Andre municipal corruption scandal that the
mayor was about to expose -- and Daniel's brothers, Joao
Francisco and Bruno, elevated the level of suspicion among
some congressmen. "This is the seventh death related to
the Celso Daniel case. Printes' death gives more
credibility to the thesis of a political crime", stated
Jose Agripino, an opposition (PFL) leader in the Senate.
(NOTE: The CPI on Bingo activities is also investigating
corruption in PT-dominated municipalities, which some
analysts contend set the stage and established the model
for the national-level corruption scheme led by elements of
the PT and exposed in recent months, per refs. END NOTE.)
4. (U) The six deaths previously related to the Daniel
case were those of: Dionisio Aquino Severo, one of Daniel's
kidnapers, killed in jail three months after the murder;
Sergio "Orelha", who sheltered Severo after the crime, shot
dead in November 2002; police investigator Otavio Mercier,
killed in July 2003; Antonio Palacio Oliveira, the waiter
who served Daniel the night he was killed, chased by two
men and killed after having crashed his motorcycle into a
pillar in February 2003; Paulo Henrique Brito, who
witnessed the death of the waiter, killed 20 days later;
and coroner official Iran Moraes Redua, who first
recognized Daniel's body, shot dead in December 2003.
5. (U) On October 13, five of the six PT congressmen who
may face an impeachment process in the Chamber requested
that the Supreme Federal Court (STF) delay the opening of
investigations against them in the Lower House's Ethics
Committee, initially scheduled for Monday, October 17.
Joao Paulo Cunha, Jose Mentor, Professor Luizinho, Paulo
Rocha, and Josias Gomes, accused of receiving illegal money
from "bagman" Marcos Valerio, argue that the Chamber's
presidency did not assess their cases separately, as
requested by the STF, and, therefore, should not forward
them to the Ethics Committee. If this appeal is not
successful, some of the congressmen may well resign on
Monday, in order to avoid formal ethics proceedings that
could lead to the loss of their political rights.
Meanwhile, four similarly accused PP (Progressive Party)
congressmen - Jose Janene, Pedro Correa, Pedro Henry and
Vadao Gomes, as well as Jose Borba of the PMDB - are
watching the fate of the "petistas'" appeal before deciding
their own course of action.
6. (U) Almost all the results have been counted from the
second round of last Sunday's internal PT elections. And
the outcome is that Ricardo Berzoini of the incumbent Campo
Majoritario faction has bested Raul Pont (standard-bearer
of more leftist elements) by a narrow margin and will
become president of that party on October 19. Berzoini's
victory is a positive development for President Lula -- who
did not want to see critics of his faction and government
assume the leadership of the PT. But, on the basis of
voting percentages in the first round, its new chief will
have to preside over a national leadership council within
which the "Campo Majoritario" (the centrist faction
associated with Lula's government but discredited by the
past five months of scandals) no longer enjoys its majority
standing of the past.
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