Offshore Scorecard: US Safra Bank moves Brazilian politician’s kickbacks to Jersey account

March 11, 2007

A few days ago, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced the indictment of Paulo Maluf, the former governor and mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and four co-conspirators, for stealing more than $11.6 million from a Brazilian public works project. Safra BankThe money moved through the Safra Bank in New York. It was only part of the $130 million that Maluf passed through Safra in 18 months alone.

The case offers another example of how the offshore banking system, controlled by the global banks, helps the world’s crooks.

Bringing Business Back Ashore: Buenos Aires issues world’s first ban on offshore shell companies

CorpWatch, April 4, 2005

In December of 2004, there was a horrific fire in a Buenos Aires disco called the Cromagnon Republic. Three rock fans shot off flares that set fire to the ceiling and engulfed the overcrowded discotheque in flames and smoke. In the rush to get out, 200 people were killed and 700 injured, most from trampling and smoke inhalation. The main entrance had been wired shut, and some of the emergency exits were locked, blocking escape.

In the days that followed, thousands of the victims’ parents and friends marched in the streets and demanded justice. A judge started proceedings for manslaughter and froze $20 million belonging to the “owner,” Omar Chaban. However, investigators soon discovered that Chaban appeared in no official disco documents; he was just the “administrator.” The legal owners of the property and the disco company were offshore shell corporations registered in the tax haven of Uruguay, the neighboring country. The listed “owner” of the enterprise was a Uruguayan “straw man” in his 70s who had no money.