The corruption case that has been the situation’s cross to bear in recent months — senior leaders found guilty of money laundering and bribery by Brazil’s Supreme Court — now becomes the burr under the saddle of the opposition.
On December 19, chief justice Barbosa ordered that depositions be taken from defense witnesses in the so-called «monthly payola of Minas Gerais» case. Federal judges from three states — Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and Ceará — will take the statements of eight defendants.
The translation «monthly payola» is how State Department report writers, their work revealed by Operation Cablegate, cleverly translated the term
In the same case, former senator and current federal deputy Eduardo Azeredo (PSDB-MG) is accused of siphoning off public funds and laundering the proceeds as part of an alleged “political slush fund” scheme used in his run for reelection as governor of Minas in 1998.
I believe the governor was also the president of the PSDB and stepped down after the scandal broke.
The governor and the ad man Marcos Valério allegedly set aside R$10 million for the advertising budget of an offroad motorcycle race. Ads billed for were never really bought. The money went off-road.
The indictment accuses state-owned firms of channeling public money through an ad agency headed by Marcos Valério, where it was used to finance the Azevedo campaign. Azevedo denies this. The indictment by the federal prosecutor dates back to December 2009.
In the course of the «monthly payola» case currently before the Supreme Court, which involves PT members and politicians allied with President Lula, the prosecutor affirms that the scheme operating in the federal congress has its origins in the alleged fraud committed by the Azevedo campaign. It is claimed that Valério was introduced to PT leadership by a PT federal deputy from Minas.
Barbosa set a deadline of 40 days for the taking of witness testimony from six defense witnesses by a Belo Horizonte federal court.
Two days after the last deposition is taken in Minas, the federal court of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Pernambuco, will take the testimony of another witness.
Two days after that, a federal court in Fortaleza, Ceará, will hear from an additional witness: former federal deputy Ciro Gomes (PSB-CE).
In his order determining the taking of depositions, Supreme Court president Barbosa asks judges to inform the court of the dates set for the depositions, and to subpoena witnesses who fail to appear.
Joaquim Barbosa also suggested what questions to ask, such as whether the witness had any relationhip with Azeredo, or whether they knew Marcos Valério or one of his associates, among others.
The case, in which Joaquim Barbosa had acted as rapporteur, will be reassigned to another justice now that Barbosa has taken over as chief justice.
Investigators discovered a list of alleged beneficiaries of the scheme, including a sitting Supreme Court justice — Mendes, above — who appears as the recipient of R$185,000 while still working for the AGU — federal attorney general.
Yet another related incident: The Furnas List, which details amounts raised by Minas Gerais state-run firms and their suppliers, then forwarded to political candidates — including practically the entire senior leadership of the opposition.
Attempts to undermine the credibility of the document failed: the federal police vouches for its authenticity.
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