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Santander Brasil chairman, execs summoned to testify over alleged fiscal fraud

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Santander Brasil chairman, execs summoned to testify over alleged fiscal fraud

Banco Santander (Brasil) SA Chairman Sergio Rial and other top executives have been summoned by a São Paulo tax commission to testify over an alleged evasion case, Folha de S.Paulo reported.

A judge from São Paulo authorized the "coercive participation" of the bank's leadership. Executives are expected to testify June 6.

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiries, known as the CPI, reportedly believes that subsidiary Santander Leasing SA Arrendamento Mercantil failed to collect 42 million reais in taxes over the past 5 years.

"There was a simulation," CPI head Ricardo Nunes was quoted as saying, suggesting that the subsidiary was headquartered in Barueri, a city in the outskirts of São Paulo which carries a lower tax rate on services, on paper but not in practice.

Lawyers from Santander Brasil have argued that the charge constitutes an abuse of power. The bank said it will appeal, arguing "absolute compliance with the law" and that "all the clarifications have been previously provided, and no new information can be added."

On May 9, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA struck a deal with the CPI for which it reportedly agreed to transfer to São Paulo its leasing and card operations as well as Redecard SA, producing about 230 million reais for the government in tax revenue. As of that date, those operations were also headquartered in Barueri.

As of May 30, US$1 was equivalent to 3.96 Brazilian reais.