SAO PAULO – The Brazilian Prosecutor’s Office filed complaints on Friday against former ministers Guido Mantega and Antonio Palocci, among the most influential figures in the governments of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, now a prisoner, and Dilma Rousseff, for corruption and money laundering, official sources said.
The complaint was filed by the prosecutors of the Lava Jato operation, which has been investigating the vast corruption scandal uncovered by state oil company Petrobras for more than four years.
Marcelo Odebrecht, former president of Odebrecht and already convicted in this case and currently under house arrest, among other former executives of the construction company, as well as publicists Monica Santana, Joao Santana and Andre Santana, were also included in the complaint.
Mantega and Palocci are accused of “directly benefiting” Odebrecht and other companies in the group, such as the petrochemical company Braskem, via two decrees and in return receiving millions in bribes, according to the indictment.
The investigation revealed that Marcelo Odebrecht, with the help of other former executives of the company, made “undue promises” to the two former finance ministers “with the objective of influencing them” in the preparation of decrees that favored them in tax matters.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the promised bribes reached the value of 50 million reais (about $13 million), a figure that was deposited in a specific Odebrecht account.
“This amount was only used through the authorization of Guido Mantega, since part of that value was given” to the advertisers denounced to be used “in the 2014 election campaign,” in which Rousseff was re-elected.
The complaint is based on the statements and evidence presented by the former Odebrecht executives within the framework of a judicial cooperation agreement that has involved dozens of politicians from across the parliamentary spectrum.
“It was proven that, throughout the years of 2008 and 2010, there was an intense negotiation between Marcelo Odebrecht and, in turn, Antonio Palocci and Guido Mantega, for the elaboration of decrees that benefited companies of the Odebrecht group and allowed a solution of tax issues,” the indictment said.
Police arrested Mantega in 2016 in the framework of the Lava Jato operation, but was released due to his delicate personal situation.
The Minister of Finance between 2006-2015 was then accused of soliciting illegal donations for the Workers’ Party (PT), still led by Lula, from entrepreneurs favored irregularly with Petrobras contracts.
For many years he was one of the main economic ideologues, like Palocci, already condemned amid the scandal of the state oil company and who is serving his sentence in the headquarters of the Federal Police in the southern city of Curitiba, where Lula is also being held.
The former president has been serving a 12-year and one-month sentence for passive corruption and money laundering in the framework of one of the six criminal proceedings still open with the Justice, most of them on suspicion of corruption.
In spite of his delicate legal situation, Lula intends to stand for the presidential elections next October, under the leadership that all the opinion polls published to date give him.
However, his candidacy is virtually nullified because the electoral law prohibits convicts in the second instance, as is the case, from being presented to elective positions.