California-based technology giant Cisco Systems had fired Carlos Roberto Carnevali, its director of operations at the Brazilian unit, after he was formally charged with tax fraud and other crimes involving evasion of up to $845m in import duties and other taxes.
Mr Carnevali was charged along with 15 others, most of who were connected with Mude Comercio e Servicos, Cisco’s main distributor in Brazil.
According to Cisco, Mr Carnevali’s employment has been terminated due to the nature of criminal charges against him and the failure to comply with Cisco’s code of business conduct. The charges were levied after the Brazilian police conducted the Operation Persona in October 2007. After this operation, at least 40 people were arrested across Brazil in connection with the inquiry and 93 search warrants were issued.
According to news website Timesonline, the police and tax authorities said that they believe Cisco’s Brazilian operations had imported $500 million of telecom and network equipment over the past five years without paying import duties on the goods.
The criminal proceedings were formally opening in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
Operation Persona identified a criminal organization that imported electronic and telecommunications products in a falsified manner, with the aim of concealing the true importers and exporters and obtaining reductions in the taxes owed in relation to these imports, said judge Luiz Renato Pacheco Chaves de Oliveira.
Brazil represents approximately 1% of Cisco’s total revenues.
Source: ComputerWire daily updates