The former dome of Banco Máxima, which became known for operating in the credit market for companies to build buildings, was denounced by the Federal Public Ministry on charges of committing crimes against the national financial system, through simulations and fraud.
According to the Attorney’s Office, former directors simulated the bank’s investment valuation to reduce its losses in financial statements and also adopted fraudulent accounting maneuvers to disguise capital insufficiency.
The complaint was presented to the Federal Court in São Paulo on May 19, based on information from the BC (Central Bank) and investigations by the Federal Police. It’s still up to the judge to review the accusation and decide whether to accept, and they become defendants, or reject it.
The suspect acts took place between November 2014 and March 2016. After this period, Máxima underwent a capitalization process with authorization from the BC. There was a change of directors and also of control of the bank.
In a statement, the bank informs that “its current shareholders took over the administration of the bank in 2018, after approval by the Central Bank, and that the members of the former management no longer have any relationship with the financial institution”.
According to the indictment, signed by the Attorney of the Republic Vicente Mandetta, the former CEO of the bank Saul Dutra Sabbá, then the majority partner, and the former legal and accounting director Alberto Maurício Caló “fraudulently managed a financial institution and maintained the repartition in error competent public authorities regarding the financial situation of a financial institution, providing it with false information”.
Two suspected irregularities by the then directors were the targets of investigations.
In the first case, investigations show that the bank made a loan whose values ended up being used by third parties to acquire shares in a fund in which the bank was the only shareholder. This generated “a fictitious gain in your accounting records”.
According to the Federal Police, there was “a lightning and artificial valuation of 126%, sponsored with funds from Banco Máxima itself”.
As a result, Máxima was able to record in its financial statement of December 31, 2014 an accounting profit of more than R$ 10 million related to a “market adjustment”, pointed out an inquiry conducted by delegate Marcelo Feres Daher.
Even so, even with the maneuver, the loss registered by the bank in the second half of that year was more than R$ 5 million.
“Both this published financial statement and the information presented by the bank to this Central Bank did not reliably reflect its real economic and financial situation,” said the Central Bank in a statement to the Public Ministry.
Three other people were denounced on charges of committing the same crimes for participating in this alleged scheme.
The second suspicion of irregularity pointed out by the Central Bank is that the then managers of Máxima inserted false information in documents presented to the agency, which allowed the reduction of the minimum reference equity requirement for the bank to legally assume new credit risks.
In the calculation of “Market Risk for Other Rights”, investigators claim that from January to December 2015 there was a 17% increase in these exposures, but the former board declared a 47% decrease in accounting.
Already between 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, they omitted “significant equity positions” in calculating risk exposure subject to share price change.
“With these maneuvers, of inserting false information in the Statements of Operating Limits (DLO) presented to the Central Bank, those responsible for Banco Máxima concealed the seriousness and size of the institution’s capital insufficiency, to support its equity profile,” said the Federal police.
“For the institution to reach the minimum regulatory capital limit, it would need to double its Referential Equity”.
The PF states that the former administrators of Banco Máxima “purposefully assumed risks much higher than those compatible with its capital structure, using false information to disguise this situation of capital deficiency, as well as avoiding the restrictions imposed on the remuneration of their directors”.
This would have caused improper receipt by the bank’s former administrators, according to the PF.
Before presiding over Máxima, Sabbá, 70, worked in brokerages and participated in an investor association.
In September 2020, according to information from BTG Pactual, Banco Máxima had 93 thousand customers and R$4.8 billion in funding. The main products offered by the bank are payroll and exchange credit lines.
Expert sites and YouTube and social media influencers also claim that the bank has offered attractive returns for CDB investments.
In a note to the report, in addition to informing that its current shareholders took over the management of the bank in 2018, Máxima states that it was not hit with any sanction or disqualification and that there were punishments applied by the Central Bank only in relation to former administrators.
When contacted, the defense of Saul Sabbá, from the David Rechulski law firm, informed that his client has not yet been formally summoned and, therefore, will not speak up. Alberto Caló’s defense was also sought, but he did not return the report’s contact.