Ex-Secretary Says Death Threats Kept Her Quiet in Brazil’s Kickback Scandal

In her testimony before the Post Office Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (CPI dos Correios), the ex-secretary Fernanda Karina Somaggio, who worked for adman Marcos Valério, declared that it was strange when her former boss said that the huge withdrawals of cash he made in banks was to pay suppliers.

“Suppliers you pay through bank billing or electronic transfers. It is not logical to make those payments in cash,” she said, adding that the firm they worked for, SMP&B advertising, paid its suppliers by check.


Somaggio denied that she asked Valério for money after she was fired. Valério has charged his ex-secretary with extortion. According to Somaggio that was just to frighten her.


“He did that to make me retract what I told the press. (Weekly newsmagazine, Isto í‰, ran an interview with her in which she made a series of accusations against Valério.) And I really was afraid, so much so that I did not say anything in my first interrogation at the Federal Police. I kept quiet. I thought he was going to kill me,” she declared.


Somaggio went on to say that there was a connection between the use of a plane owned by the Banco Rural and the cash withdrawals. Supposedly the money was withdrawn from a bank in Belo Horizonte and taken to Brasí­lia to be handed out to members of Congress.


“He certainly could never take a regular flight with all that money,” Somaggio said, although she admitted that she never actually saw the money.


Finally, Somaggio claimed that Valério had “a friendly relationship” with the treasurer of the PT, Delúbio Soares. She says they, Soares and Valério, had meetings in Brasí­lia or São Paulo.


Background note:


This scandal began with a grainy videotape of an official in the state-run Post Office taking a bribe, glibly popping a wad of bills into his coat pocket and then mouthing off about a kickback scheme in the Post Office commanded by deputy Roberto Jefferson from the Rio de Janeiro PTB party.


Jefferson counterattacked by revealing that the PT, the party of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was making monthly payments to certain members of Congress who belonged to political parties supposedly allied with the government in order to ensure that they would vote consistently with the government. According to Jefferson, the PT moneyman was Marcos Valério.


ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br

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