Brazilian Billionaires Facing Hard Times
Post on July 18, 2016, 2:19 pm by the-victoria-law-group 0 Comments
It’s not all it’s cracked up to be these days, being a Billionaire in Brazil. With investigations, international money transfer rules, and the thought of going to jail, it makes the working class seem more and more attractive, even in Brazil.
Who wants to be a billionaire!? The answer to that question in Brazil in particular may very well be…no one.
Billionaires, millionaires and their BFFs in Brasilia are going to jail. And in record numbers. There’s no love loss for the elite. Between the ransacking of Petrobras, in which many of them colluded with the government to bribe their way to lucrative contracts, to the lackluster infrastructure for the upcoming Olympic games (promoted by fallen billionaire Eike Batista) the uber-rich that once helped shine the spotlight on Brazil are now partly to blame for its humiliating collapse.
The good news is that Brazil’s super rich aren’t all white collar criminals. They’re an interesting bunch of characters running powerful, creative enterprises — media moguls and private equity wunderkinds. Those personalities enticed former Bloomberg reporter Alex Cuadros to spend much of the last five years chronicling their successes and failures in “Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil.” The book was bought by a division of Random House and released in the U.S. last week.
There is nothing uniquely special about Brazil billionaires. Besides the fact that they have made headlines over the last several years, including during the ongoing Petrobras scandal, they’re just like the rest of their ilk abroad. Some inherited their wealth. Some, like Brazil’s richest man Jorge Paulo Lemann, made impressive investment calls in generally boring businesses. Others believed they were Christened by the Most High. Money making is their talent; a gift from God. And God is “Brasileiro” so they had easier access to the Lord than most.
Like their peers up north, Brazil billionaires enjoy the fast lane. Cuadros explains Harvard man Lemann’s attempt to surf a storm swell in Copa. Thirty footers of adrenaline pumping machismo for a man, then in his 20s, who was used to surfing ten footers at best. It taught him a life lesson. “I thought back to that wave I surfed in Copacabana far more than I thought about the things I learned in college,” Lemann is quoted saying. “It gave me a certain self-confidence when it came to taking risks.” Hell, this could be Sir Richard Branson strapping himself to a rocket launcher jacked up on Red Bull. This is how billionaires roll. No wonder they have so much in common with each other. Some guys surf the wave to shore, others get drilled. Cuadros book has plenty of wipe-outs.
One of the true hallmarks of “Brazillionaires” is Cuadros’ storytelling. Readers go along with him for the ride. The way he narrates the book makes their story cinematic. You’re off to the races from the get-go, helicoptering into billionaire offices with cocky, young Bloomberg editors interviewing supermarket billionaire Abilio Diniz; tripping over $35,000 furniture in luxurious Rio penthouses (as if there is any other kind) and living like a Western colonial on $1,000 a night dinners for two at D.O.M., a high class São Paulo restaurant coveted by “Mauricinhos” and “Patricinhas” — those rich, young, circle rafters gearing up to be Brazil’s next billionaire class. For some of them, there is a foreboding sense about being worth only single digit millions. Miami and New York are their home away from home. Switzerland holds a lot of their cash.
Read Forbes.com article here:
Presented by Miami International Business Attorney