Friday, June 11, 2010

Rosell company involved in Brazilian investigation

1. On 19 November 2008, the Brazilian national team plays a friendly game against Portugal to inaugurate the remodelled Walmir Campelo Bezerra stadium, usually known as Bezerrão, in the federal district of Brasília.

The match is organized by Ailanto, a Brazilian company of current Barcelona presidential candidate Sandro Rosell, that bought the rights for the friendly game from Catalan sports marketing company Bonus Sports Marketing (BSM), that is also owned by Rosell.

BSM had earlier bought the rights of the Brazilian team from International Sports Events (ISE), a company that is located on the Cayman Islands and that owns the rights of the friendly games of the Brazilian national team.

2. In March 2009, regional Brazilian radio station CBN Brasília reports that there's an investigation of the public prosecutor ongoing regarding the contract for the organization of the friendly between the governement of Brasilia and Ailanto.

The press reports say that the radio claims that Ailanto is an apparent ghost company that wouldn't even have an own phone and that Rosell, who is said to be linked with ISE, is an intimate friend of Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the Brazilian football federation who in the past has already been linked to similar irregularities.

As a consecuence of the media reports, Paulo Tadeu, a member of the regional parlement, asks for more information about the case which leads to a report by the Court of Audit. In July 2009, five public prosecutors issue a "public civil action of responsibility for an act of administrative misconduct" against governor José Roberto Arruda, secretary of sports Agnaldo Silva de Oliveira and Ailanto.

3. The public prosecutor basically points out that the correct procedures regarding the awarding and the executing of the contract - that was closed only one week before the game while the event couldn't be organized in such a short time according to the prosecutor - have not been followed. For example, several documents have not been presented in due time or were incomplete, and the governor personally gave the order for some payments.

Regarding the fee that was paid by the governement to Ailanto for the rights on the game and the organization, the public prosecutor says that the price of around 4,1 million euros is too high, using the word "absurd", that the fee is not properly explained and that the government also paid some costs that according to the contracts should have been paid by Ailanto.

The public prosecutor claims that Ailanto, that is described as a company ad hoc, "acted with a fraudulent intention and clearly in bad faith" and concludes by asking the judge for further investigations and to condemn all three parties involved.

As for Ailanto, the public prosecutor asks, among other things, to condemn the company to pay back the entire fee (together with the two others) and to exclude the company of doing business or getting any financial support from the government for the coming three years.

4. In September of last year, the lawyers of Ailanto put down their reply to the acusations of the public prosecutor. Ailanto basically claims that the public prosecutor made a mistake regarding the procedure that had to be followed for the awarding of the contract so that the accusation at that point is invalid.

Regarding the fee that was paid, Ailanto denies that it would be too high and explains how it has come to the final price. The secretary of sports also puts down his declaration while the governor was called up to testify at the end of March of this year.

Nevertheless, in November 2009, the local police launches the 'Box of Pandora' operation in Brasília, targetting a wide-spread network of government corruption, involving governor José Roberto Arruda, who is arrested and put in prison last February. In April, Arruda is released on bail. The now ex-governor still has to testify in the 'Brazil vs Portugal' case.

5. After some rumours about the case were spreading on the internet, former Barcelona press officer Jordi Badia starts a series on the matter on his blog on Friday 21 May. In several episodes, Badia explains the case in detail, adding links to press reports and official documents.

The news is picked up by the mainstream media on Tuesday 25 May after Rosell announces that he will file a lawsuit against Barcelona presidential candidate Marc Ingla, who had suggested in an interview that a company of Rosell had been "accused" in Brazil (read more here).

Rosell has been reluctant to talk about the matter and his candidacy did not put out any press release regarding the case. The defense of Rosell and people from his team is that Ailanto is not involved in any judicial case, that the public prosecutor is only investigating the corruption scandal linked to the governor and that his company in that regard has been asked to give information, like hundreds of other companies.

Last Friday, Ingla presented a note from a Brazilian law firm that says that Ailanto is being judicially investigated in a case of possible fraud.

Read more:
Rosell to file lawsuit against Ingla

disclaimer: none of what is written above is the personal opinion of the author. the post is based on public news reports and presumed official documents, whose authenticity hasn't been challenged by any of the parties involved. if there is any doubt about the terminology used in this post, the words should be interpreted in a non-legal way. if anyone feels not correctly treated by this post, he can asks for a rectification by sending this blog a mail to the address that can be found at the right and below.