Porsche Design Tower.
Porsche Design Tower. (Courtesy photo)

A Brazilian money-laundering investigation of a development bearing the Porsche name stretches to South Florida with inquiries about a contractor and Gil Dezer’s Dezer Development LLC.

Dezer Development holds a master license agreement with the Porsche Design Group and built the first tower bearing the German brand name in Sunny Isles Beach.

The proposed Porsche Design Towers Brava in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina would be the German group’s first real estate venture in South America, but Brazilian authorities have accused its contractor of illegally funneling up to $4.1 million to the U.S. as licensing payments for the brand.

Dezer released a statement Wednesday saying his company sublicensed the trademark rights to Brazilian contractor Carelli Properties, allowing the group to paste the Porsche brand on its residential project in exchange for licensing fees paid to the South Florida developer.

“Dezer Development then satisfied its obligations under the master license by paying royalties and fees to the owner of the trademark in Germany,” Dezer said. “However, Dezer Development has absolutely no knowledge of the process Carelli used to transfer license fee money from Brazil to banks in the United States.”

The Brazilian federal police said an investigation centered on the project has revealed a “criminal organization” responsible for tax evasion using falsified currency exchange contracts and money laundering abroad.

Dezer said, “The company and its principals are aware that Brazilian authorities have questions about these transactions and are prepared to fully cooperate with the investigation.”

Authorities accuse an undisclosed Santa Catarina-based contractor of using a phantom company and fraudulent contracts to pay an “American luxury developer” — rather than pay the German company directly — to avoid higher costs in a tax evasion ploy, according to a news release issued May 9.

The Brazilian authorities announced an operation dubbed Connection Miami to further investigate alleged participants, including two U.S.-based executives and an individual in Germany. The announcement did not list any names but referred to payments from a Santa Catarina company to “the U.S. licenser of the brand in the United States” for a “German company, owner of the high-value car brand.”

Porsche and Porsche Design did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

The U.S. and German executives were described as “representatives of the international car brand and will be indicted via international cooperation,” the department wrote in Portuguese.

The released also referred to two real estate brokerages and two currency dealers.

Miami-based Piquet Realty LLC led by Brazilian Cristiano Piquet is the exclusive sales partner on the South American project but said it faces no charges.

“Piquet Realty was not summoned by the courts to provide any kind of clarification due to its lack of connection in royalty payments made between Construtora Carelli and Porsche Design,” the brokerage said in a statement. “The success of Piquet Realty in the sales of the Porsche Tower units in Miami, and the fact that the real estate agency introduced Construtora Carelli to the German brand, led to the appointment of Piquet Realty to coordinate sales at the first Porsche Tower in Brazil.”

Letters rogatory — a means of obtaining international assistance on investigations — have been sent to the U.S. and Germany, according to Brazilian police. The letters from courts in one country to courts in another can be used to secure evidence or serve a lawsuit.

The U.S. State Department said it cannot comment on ongoing law enforcement matters.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Carelli Properties, a Santa Catarina-based luxury developer, partnered with Porsche Design to build a four-tower, 740-unit complex in the beach resort town of Balneario Camboriu last year.

The first Porsche brand tower, known for its patented car elevator that whisks residents and their vehicles to “sky garages” attached to residential units, was completed this year in Sunny Isles Beach. During its grand opening event in March, the Porsche group announced plans to build similar projects in Brazil and Frankfurt.

Dezer Development, which was founded by Dezer’s father Michael, is known for developing tony South Florida towers under the Trump brand.

A Brazilian money-laundering investigation of a development bearing the Porsche name stretches to South Florida with inquiries about a contractor and Gil Dezer’s Dezer Development LLC.

Dezer Development holds a master license agreement with the Porsche Design Group and built the first tower bearing the German brand name in Sunny Isles Beach.

The proposed Porsche Design Towers Brava in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina would be the German group’s first real estate venture in South America, but Brazilian authorities have accused its contractor of illegally funneling up to $4.1 million to the U.S. as licensing payments for the brand.

Dezer released a statement Wednesday saying his company sublicensed the trademark rights to Brazilian contractor Carelli Properties, allowing the group to paste the Porsche brand on its residential project in exchange for licensing fees paid to the South Florida developer.

“Dezer Development then satisfied its obligations under the master license by paying royalties and fees to the owner of the trademark in Germany,” Dezer said. “However, Dezer Development has absolutely no knowledge of the process Carelli used to transfer license fee money from Brazil to banks in the United States.”

The Brazilian federal police said an investigation centered on the project has revealed a “criminal organization” responsible for tax evasion using falsified currency exchange contracts and money laundering abroad.

Dezer said, “The company and its principals are aware that Brazilian authorities have questions about these transactions and are prepared to fully cooperate with the investigation.”

Authorities accuse an undisclosed Santa Catarina-based contractor of using a phantom company and fraudulent contracts to pay an “American luxury developer” — rather than pay the German company directly — to avoid higher costs in a tax evasion ploy, according to a news release issued May 9.

The Brazilian authorities announced an operation dubbed Connection Miami to further investigate alleged participants, including two U.S.-based executives and an individual in Germany. The announcement did not list any names but referred to payments from a Santa Catarina company to “the U.S. licenser of the brand in the United States” for a “German company, owner of the high-value car brand.”

Porsche and Porsche Design did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

The U.S. and German executives were described as “representatives of the international car brand and will be indicted via international cooperation,” the department wrote in Portuguese.

The released also referred to two real estate brokerages and two currency dealers.

Miami-based Piquet Realty LLC led by Brazilian Cristiano Piquet is the exclusive sales partner on the South American project but said it faces no charges.

“Piquet Realty was not summoned by the courts to provide any kind of clarification due to its lack of connection in royalty payments made between Construtora Carelli and Porsche Design,” the brokerage said in a statement. “The success of Piquet Realty in the sales of the Porsche Tower units in Miami, and the fact that the real estate agency introduced Construtora Carelli to the German brand, led to the appointment of Piquet Realty to coordinate sales at the first Porsche Tower in Brazil.”

Letters rogatory — a means of obtaining international assistance on investigations — have been sent to the U.S. and Germany, according to Brazilian police. The letters from courts in one country to courts in another can be used to secure evidence or serve a lawsuit.

The U.S. State Department said it cannot comment on ongoing law enforcement matters.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Carelli Properties, a Santa Catarina-based luxury developer, partnered with Porsche Design to build a four-tower, 740-unit complex in the beach resort town of Balneario Camboriu last year.

The first Porsche brand tower, known for its patented car elevator that whisks residents and their vehicles to “sky garages” attached to residential units, was completed this year in Sunny Isles Beach. During its grand opening event in March, the Porsche group announced plans to build similar projects in Brazil and Frankfurt.

Dezer Development, which was founded by Dezer’s father Michael, is known for developing tony South Florida towers under the Trump brand.