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Brazil Arrests Worlds Richest Banker

Brazil arrests the world's richest banker

The government in Brazil have arrested and charged one of the world’s richest bankers, Joseph Safra, for bribing officials in order to avoid paying tax. 

Brazilian prosecutors say that Safra had knowledge of a 2014 plan by executives at his Banco Safra SA to bribe federal tax auditors with $4.2 million dollars.

Reuters.com reports:

The accusation is based on tapped phone calls between Banco Safra executive João Inácio Puga and tax officials, the statement added.

Safra, who alongside his family owns Banco Safra SA and a number of private-banking institutions including Switzerland’s J Safra Sarasin, was not directly involved in the negotiations on the bribery plan, the statement noted. Still, the conversations showed that Puga reported to Safra on the bribery talks, prosecutors said.

In a separate statement, Safra’s investment holding company Safra Group said the allegations “are unfounded,” adding that “there have not been any improprieties by any of the businesses of The Safra Group.”

No Safra Group representative “offered any inducement to any public official and the Group did not receive any benefit in the judgment of the tribunal,” the Safra Group statement said.

The charges filed are a follow-up of a broader police inquiry, known as “Operation Zealots,” into kickbacks by companies through lobbyists. Dozens of other Brazilian firms, including steelmaker Gerdau SA, have also been under investigation for suspected kickbacks.

The case is investigating whether companies bribed members of CARF, a body within the Finance Ministry that hears appeals on tax disputes, to get favorable rulings that reduced or waived the amounts owed. Over 70 industrial, agricultural, civil engineering and financial companies, including banks, are being probed in Operation Zealots.

The Lebanese-Brazilian billionaire, whose fortune is estimated at about $18 billion by Forbes Magazine, controls a banking and financial conglomerate that operates in 19 countries.

In addition to “Operation Zealots,” Brazil has been gripped by the far-reaching corruption probe around state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and major engineering conglomerates in the past couple of years.

($1 = 3.5931 Brazilian reais)

  • Lisette Muntslag

    Bribing politicians should be a crime against humanity….!

    • ItsJim

      That is exactly what bribing is Lisette, its taking more more more from the little guy and stuffing it in the pockets of those that have aquired so much, that they feel it is neccessary to suppress others so they can accumulate ALL, like a sickness and they should be put out of their misery. And not in some fancy jail, in a pit with very little, totally strip the wealth from them and thier spawn.

      • Lisette Muntslag

        Exactly, history is simply repeating itself…..the very same people that were going to liberate the little guy from exploitation are now exploiting and oppressing the little guy….how these people continue to deceive humanity is beyond me…..the same old story with different actors…..

  • ItsJim

    18 Billion is not enough, they must cheat taxes that give so little to the 98%? I say make a huge stew out of them and feed the poor, eat the rich until there are no more, I bet that stew tastes like pork. Really, 18 billion?

    • Lisette Muntslag

      self-serving greed……

  • Mervin

    Do you think a Justice Department under Hillary Clinton would do this to a banker? Especially one of this stature? Seriously? Think Panama.

    • storyartist

      Bakers are even more safe under HRC than they were under Eric Holder and Obama.

  • William Smith

    This is a wonderful example of how the wrong policies/laws can be used against thr right people for a change.

  • David’s view

    This is the same problem we have in the U.S. Mega rich billionaires who will do anything to not pay their taxes. I’m sure the Panama Papers will be bringing into light more slime balls like this prick. He needs to have no choice but to eat maggot infested cereal and wear the same filthy cloths for weeks at a time. The worst type of human imaginable.