By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former finance minister of Brazil, Guido Mantega said on Thursday that the statements made by former CEO Marcelo Odebrecht that the Rousseff-Temer ticket received illicit campaign contributions were a ‘piece of fiction’, according to Rousseff’s attorney, Flavio Caetano.
“Guido Mantega gave a very emphatic statement, saying that all of Marcelo Odebrecht’s statements are lies. He used that word,” Caetano was quoted as saying by local news media.
“There is no statement by Marcelo Odebrecht that deserves credibility. They are all lies and he [Mantega] says that the testimony of Marcelo Odebrecht is a piece of fiction,” added Caetano.
Rousseff’s attorney accompanied Mantega’s testimony at the São Paulo Regional Electoral Court (TRE) building in relation to an investigation by the Federal Electoral Court into illicit campaign contributions during the 2014 presidential campaign.
Mantega gave the testimony as a defense witness for former president Dilma Rousseff. Mantega was Finance Minister for more than eight years, between 2006 and 2014, participating in the second administration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the first term of Dilma Rousseff.
Marcelo Odebrecht in his plea bargaining agreement with federal prosecutors in the Lava Jato (Carwash) scandal stated that the former finance minister was involved in the transfer of undeclared campaign funds for the 2014 campaign.
According to Caetano, Mantega, as Finance Minister, held meetings with representatives of Odebrecht. However, he denied that on these occasions matters relating to campaigns and donations were negotiated.
“Group meetings and private meetings were common because Odebrecht was the third largest company in the country at the time,” said Caetano. “It is natural that there were meetings, but there was never any talk about campaigning, about donation, about payment, about licit and illicit donations. He [Mantega] said that this did not exist, that this is a false statement by him [Odebrecht],” concluded the attorney.
If the seven judges in the Electoral Court (TSE) accept the accusations, the TSE could annul the 2014 election results and force Temer from office.