Investigation into the guarantor bank of Need Medicines

The testimony of Roberto Pereira Ramos Júnior, director-president of FIB Bank, brought the government leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), back to the center of Covid’s Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) this Wednesday Tuesday (25th)

FIB Bank has two other companies as partners. One of them is MB Guassu, whose real owner seems to be, in fact, Marcos Tolentino, lawyer and friend of Ricardo Barros (PP-PR). MB Guassu’s address, as well as the contact telephone number, are the same as those of the law firm of Tolentino, Benetti & Associados – Gestão Tributária e Empresarial. The other company, Pico do Juazeiro, which has 4% of the share capital, has the same address as Rede Brasil de Televisão, broadcaster from Tolentino.

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According to Roberto Júnior, the office provides services to FIB Bank, but was unable to explain the convergence of addresses. More: Roberto Pereira Ramos Júnior was unable to say the reasons that lead Tolentino to appear in several contracts as the sole attorney-in-fact and legal representative of FIB Bank.

According to a report from piauí magazine, on May 28, 2020, Marcos Tolentino met in his apartment in São Paulo with the then Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello, Ricardo Barros, Wagner Potenza, former commercial director of the FIB Bank, and Francisco Emerson Maximiano, owner of Necessidade Medicamentos . The dinner served to introduce the characters to the possibility of contracting Need vaccines.

surety letter

The Ministry of Health closed the contract with Need Medicines on February 25th. However, the letter of guarantee was implemented by FIB Bank only on March 17th. A financial guarantee of 5% on the total amount of R$1.61 billion was a necessary part of signing the contract. According to the CEO of FIB Bank, Need Medicines paid R$ 500 thousand for the letter of guarantee.

The guarantee letter, which was part of the acquisition process of the immunizing agent, was signed by Roberto Ferreira Dias, former director of the Ministry’s Logistics Department, who was accused of having pressured employees of the folder to release the Covaxin vaccine. To the CPI, Dias denied the accusations. He is considered one of Ricardo Barros’s sponsors within the Ministry of Health, although he also denies the relationship.

The guarantee is of a fiduciary type and is not provided for in the contract signed between Need Medicines, the Ministry of Health and the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech, responsible for the production of the immunizing agent Covaxin. The document actually provided for a bank-type guarantee, surety bond or guarantee in cash or public debt securities. As reported by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, even so, the folder included the fiduciary guarantee as guarantee insurance.

Suspicions are that, through Ricardo Barros, Marcos Tolentino had influence within the Ministry of Health to bring FIB Bank into the proceedings, even though the company has characteristics that test its suitability.

“Fibb Bank”

The share capital of FIB Bank is R$7.5 billion, an amount considered for a large company, although Roberto Júnior claims that the company has a small structure. The value refers to four large lands. Three of them do not even exist, according to information from the Public Ministry of Paraná. The other is located in São Paulo. Of this amount, R$7.2 billion would have been paid in by MB Guassu.

Currently, Sebastião Fernandes de Lima and Francisco Valderi Fernandes de Lima, who appear as owners of MB Guassu, have passed away. Sebastião died on August 21, 2017 and Francisco, on August 10, 2020.

Asked about a document from MB Guassu with the FIB Bank, dated August 3, 2021, after the death of those who appear as owners, Ramos Júnior used the right to remain silent, granted by Justice Carmen Lúcia, of the Federal Supreme Court ( STF), in questions that incur self-incrimination.

In the inventory of one of the partners, in fact, there was no declaration of assets, as informed by senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP). “Another thing is that in the inventory of one of these founding partners of MB Guassu there were no assets. And these… One of these partners was the founder of the company that paid in the capital of a company”, said the senator.

Before the companies MB Guassu and Pico do Juazeiro were listed as owners of the company, FIB Bank had Alexandra Pereira de Melo and Geraldo Rodrigues Machado as partners. To the surprise of the senators, both filed lawsuits in court stating that they never participated in the company.

Geraldo Rodrigues Machado, even a salesman who lives in Alagoas, has never even set foot in São Paulo, where FIB Bank is located. On the contrary, Machado only learned that his name had been misused during a consultation with the Internal Revenue Service when trying to withdraw unemployment insurance, when he filed a complaint at the police station.

Another point of strangeness among senators is that the company does not have authorization from the Central Bank to function as a financial institution or even to offer this type of policy. The operation also violates judgments of the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU), which determine that only financial institutions regulated by the Central Bank can issue bank policies. “The provision of contractual guarantee in the bank guarantee modality provided for in art. 56, § 1, item III, of law 8.666/1993, issued by a company that is not a financial institution authorized by the Central Bank”, says the statement of one of the judgments.

The company also appears as guarantor of Need Medicines in another contract signed with the Ministry of Health, for the purchase of 10,000 female condoms for R$ 31.5 million. While Ramos Júnior was speaking to the CPI, the Ministry of Health sent a letter to Need Medicines requesting the replacement of the FIB Bank’s letter of guarantee in the condom contract, as reported by the power360.

At the end of the testimony, senator Simone Tebet (MDB-MS) asked the Civil House and the Ministries to vote on an application to request the immediate suspension of all letters of guarantee from FIB Bank

Edition: Anelize Moreira

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