Piracy CPI report to be voted on tomorrow


Source: Valor Econômico, 08/06/2004

By César Felício and Ilton Caldeira From Brasília and São Paulo

The rapporteur of CPI da Pirataria, deputy Josias Quintal (PMDB-RJ), must present his final opinion today, which will be voted until this Wednesday. Created more than a year ago, the CPI ends its operation this week and cannot be extended. The presentation of the report was scheduled for last week, but it was postponed after the president of the CPI, deputy Luiz Antonio de Medeiros (PL-SP), arrested the businessman Law Kin Chong, who was considered one of the biggest piracy agents in the country. parents. Chong would have tried to bribe Medeiros so that his name would be excluded from the final opinion.

The Piracy CPI report may have significant political effects if the PP's national president, deputy Pedro Corrêa (PE) is cited. The congressman appears in telephone conversations intercepted by the Federal Police in contact with businessman Ari Natalino da Silva, owner of a fuel distributor. From the conversations, there is a suspicion that Corrêa would traffic influence in favor of the businessman in exchange for financial advantages.

Yesterday, Corrêa stayed out of Brasilia, and released an official note, saying he was innocent. “I have and never had any involvement with the reported facts; Any and allusion and reference to my name, refer to situations that result from mere and unfounded lessons or to facts that do not concern the investigative context ”, he said.

CPI also investigates the possible involvement of Corrêa in an alleged gang of cigarette smugglers. The deputy's connection with companies in the sector suspected of irregularities is old. The accountability of the then candidate for federal deputy in 1998 by the PPB of Pernambuco reveals that Corrêa received about R $ 90,7 thousand from American Virginia Indústria, Comércio e Exportação de Tabacos Ltda.

In 2002, American Virgínia was appointed by specialists heard by Valor as the company that grew the most in the tobacco market in Brazil. In 1999 the company even asked for tax incentives to open a factory in Pernambuco, but during the negotiations, state authorities found cigarettes manufactured for export being sold in the local market. The company also had its products seized on several occasions for selling cigarettes with counterfeit control seals.

Another company in the tobacco sector that collaborated with campaigns by Deputy Pedro Corrêa was the Industry and Commerce King Ltda. According to the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Rei donated R $ 69,2 thousand to Corrêa's reelection campaign in 2002. The company that operated in Rio de Janeiro until last year was closed at the request of the National Agency for Health Surveillance (Anvisa).

According to an expert in the tobacco sector, smaller companies have taken up significant slices of this segment because they are able to gain competitiveness by specializing in tax avoidance, seeking alternatives in tax legislation, and by maintaining a strong link with Paraguay's cigarette smuggling schemes .

Survey made by Nielsen / IDS shows that small manufacturers had around 2002% of the market in 12. The same survey points, based on data from the Federal Revenue Service, that these same companies declared a production that corresponded to 8,5% of the total manufactured cigarettes.

This disparity would be explained, according to experts, by the fact that many cigarette manufacturers operate with mirror companies in Paraguay. Much of the production in that country ends up entering Brazil for smuggling, but it is marketed as a Brazilian product. This illegal trade would be stimulated by tax factors since the tax on the sector in Paraguay varies from 13% to 16% and in Brazil it is 70%.