quarta-feira, 10 de outubro de 2012

Jail sentences for corruption skandal in Brazil

The Supreme Court in Brazil has found the political scheme set up by the former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his labour party PT, to be corrupt. To date, 22 of the 38 defendants have been found guilty of setting up a scheme that used public funds to buy support from opposition parties in parliament. Among the convicts are Jose Dirceu, who was the president's chief of staff from 2003 to 2005, Jose Genoino, the former head of President Lula's Workers Party, and its treasurer, Delubio Soares. These three Lula's men are facing a jail sentence. In today's post, the BBC explains the case: "The scandal became known in Brazil as Mensalao or the "Big Monthly" allowance. The central allegation is that illegal payments and benefits were paid to congressmen in return for support for the government in crucial votes. It took many years for the case to get to the Supreme Court in Brasilia. The case, with 38 defendants, is seen as a key test of Brazil's ability to hold its politicians to account for corruption. Some of the defendants, who include politicians and business executives, say the scandal is being exploited by opposition politicians and sections of the media. They say that the scheme was simply a way of paying off campaign debts which, while illegal, is common in Brazilian politics. Others deny any involvement in buying political support. A majority of the judges have already rejected claims by the defence that no vote-buying scheme existed." Lula himself has not been convicted as yet. Some of Lula's allies are voicing disgust that some judges of the Supreme Court who have been chosen by Lula are now condemning Lula's corrupt schemes. This behaviour, some of them claim, is a "betrayal".

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