HomeNewsBriefBrazil's Senate Moves To Oust Crime-Linked Legislator
BRIEF

Brazil's Senate Moves To Oust Crime-Linked Legislator

BRAZIL / 9 MAY 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Brazil's Senate Ethics Committee has voted to remove a legislator from office for his alleged ties to a gambling kingpin, amid a broader investigation which hints at corruption at the highest levels of power in the country.

The 16-person Senate Ethics Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to expel Demostenes Torres (see picture) of Goias state, formerly of the Democratas party, following allegations of the senator's links to suspected gambling kingpin Carlos Augusto Ramos. Ramos, alias "Carlinhos Cachoeira," or "Charlie Waterfall" in English, was arrested in late February by Brazil's Federal Police.

Police wiretaps show that Torres had dealings with Cachoeira in 2012 and 2009. In the recordings, Torres asks Cachoeira for money, and warns him of police interest in his criminal operations. Brazil's top prosecutor alleges Torres received about $1.7 million from Cachoeira.

In addition to Torres, Cachoeira has been linked to three federal deputies and the governors of Brasilia and the state of Goias.

Cachoeira is accused of running an gambling racket worth as much as $15 million, filtered through 59 companies, 38 of which were active until last year, as Brazilian news site Band reported based on information from a source close to the investigation. Interestingly, he is being represented by Marcio Thomaz Bastos, who served as former president Lula's Justice Minister from 2003 to 2007.

InSight Crime Analysis

The senate's move to expel Torres is the latest blow against the mighty Cachoeira. The alleged gambling boss, referred to by Bloomberg as "the Michael Corleone of Brazil," became an illicit power broker through his stewardship of an "animal game" network, and his vast political connections reveal the continuing influence of the illicit -- but often tolerated -- lottery.

Cachoeira has powerful friends in business as well as politics. Delta, a large construction company and key player in Rio de Janeiro politics, apparently used Cachoeira as a conduit to gain access to a network of public servants and politicians to help it win lucrative development contracts. Fernando Cavendish, former Delta owner and manager and close friend to Rio governor Sergio Cabral, stepped down following the release of the Cachoeira wiretaps. Lawmakers are considering an investigation of Cabral's possible links to the corruption scandal.

Delta has already walked away from a high-profile contract in Rio, but it still plays a major role in the city's urban renewal, and its alleged connections to Cachoeira show the complex relationship between Brazilian politics and crime. As Rio prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, spending millions on ambitious police occupations, many of which are supplanting organized crime, and infrastructure projects, a boon for developers like Delta, the accused gambling kingpin Cachoeira represents a link between big business, crime, and politics. As such, the coming revelations of his case may have serious implications for Rio as well as for Brazil.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 29 OCT 2012

Murders in the Brazilian city of São Paulo are surging, with 20 homicides in a 24-hour period this weekend, marking…

BRAZIL / 7 MAY 2021

The stranger burst into the house, staggering and leaving a trail of blood behind him. He ran into the back,…

BRAZIL / 2 JUN 2011

Yes, there’s peace in the house. But where’s the attention, the commitment, where are the services? Dignity for citizens, says…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…