By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva went on the attack on Wednesday calling his former finance minister and a key member of his staff, Antonio Palocci, cold and calculating. The former leader gave his second testimony before Judge Sergio Moro, after Palocci confirmed Lula had received benefits from contractors.
“[Antonio] Palocci is so clever that he is able to simulate a lie truer than truth,” the former leader told the judge. He’s a doctor, he’s calculating, he’s cold. Nothing is true.”
Last week, Palocci told Judge Moro that ex-President Lula had made a ‘blood pact’ with Emilio Odebrecht, the founder of one of the largest construction conglomerates in the country, which included the payment of R$300 million for Lula’s ‘political activities’.
Stating that he was one of the people most interested in uncovering the whole truth, Lula gave his version on why his onetime close ally accused him. “He’s making the accusation because he wants the benefits of the plea-bargaining agreement or maybe some of the money you (prosecutor’s office) have frozen (from Palocci’s accounts),” Lula stated.
The former president responds to charges of passive corruption and money laundering. According to prosecutors, Odebrecht bought land for the construction of a new headquarters for the Lula Institute in exchange of Lula’s influence in the government and in Congress.
A few hours after Lula’s testimony, Palocci’s attorney, Antonio Bretas, rebutted the former president’s statement. “While Palocci was silent, he was ‘intelligent’ and ‘virtuous’, but after he decided to speak the truth he was seen as a calculating and underhanded,” read the statement.
At the end of his testimony Lula irritated Judge Moro by asking, “Will I be able to look on the faces of my children and say that I came to Curitiba to give testimony to an impartial judge?”
To which Judge Moro, who in July sentenced the former president to over nine years in jail for corruption and money laundering, answered, “I will not discuss the other action with you. My conviction is that you were guilty. If we were to discuss it here, it would not be good for you.”