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Demostenes in the Dock


Major corruption cases involving opposition parties will come to a head in the next year or two: the Abramoff-like case of Senator Torres — a grandiloquent orator on the state of political morality before his fall from grace — and the involvement of the PSDB in the same slush fund scheme in Minas Gerais for which PT leadership was held to account in this year’s spectacular “monthly allowance” trial.

Efforts by the major media to minimize the two cases involving the opposition are blindingly visible. The DEM party, champion in corruption charges in recent sessions of Congress, has been all but dismantled in favor of the ideologically vague PDS.

Ombudsmen — the Folha has already touched on the lack of balance in the coverage — will inevitably tally up stories on the  involvement of PSDB national leadership in the “monthly allowance of Minas Gerais” and find the coverage wanting.

For example, the only coverage of this development today comes from the state-run Agência Brasil.

Brasília – Former prosecutor Demóstenes Torres was charged today in a Goias court on eight counts of passive corruption (bribe taking) and one count of abuse of power. The Goias state prosecutor also charged numbers racketeer Carlinhos Cachoeira and the former director of Delta Construções, Cláudio Abreu, for active corruption (offering bribes).

The charges resulted from the ex-senator’s participation in federal police Operations Vegas and Monte Carlo, which explored a corruption and numbers racketeering in Goias and the Federal District. Originally, the material relating to Torres was sent to the Supreme Court, but when Torres left political office he lost his prerogative to be tried in the Supreme Court and the case was assigned to a Goias court.

Vegas and Monte Carlo also turned up information on ties linking Torres to Carlinhos “Charlie Waterfall” Cachoeira.

A team of eight prosecutors assigned to analyzing the evidence concluded that in the period between June 2009 and February 2012, Torres received more than $5 million, along with private flights, costly beverages and deluxe home appliances.

The prosecutors also found that the Torres took an active part in negotatiating the interests of  Delta Construções in the muncipality of Anápolis  in July 2011. There is no indication that the mayor accepted the bribe offered.

The MP-GO also moved to remove Torres from his post as state prosecutor. He has been temporarily suspended from office by a decision of the National Council of the Public Ministry.