By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Supreme Court Justice in Brazil, Edson Fachin, sent the information of three former presidents, obtained through plea-bargaining agreements with Odebrecht executives, to the lower courts, since the three leaders no longer have privileged forums in the Supreme Court.
The information given by the executives about illicit money given to ex-Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff will be reviewed by the lower courts.
The fourth former president noted in the testimonies, Fernando Collor de Mello, will continue in the Supreme Court, since Collor de Mello is currently a senator in Brazil’s Congress.
According to one of Odebrecht’s former CEOs, Emílio Odebrecht, the construction giant gave illicit donations to former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s campaigns in 1993 and 1997. The charges should be heard by a federal court in São Paulo.
The accusations against former President Lula include the use of the former president’s influence to allow Odebrecht to close deals with the Angolan government, the construction remodeling at Lula’s Atibaia (SP) ranch, and the payment of lectures in exchange of benefits to the company.
In the case of former President Dilma Rousseff, testimony states that there were two illicit cash payments made to her election campaign.
The three former leaders were quick to respond to the news that their names had been linked to the Lava Jato scandal.
Former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso said that he would not speak until he has access to the minister’s decision.
Ex-president Lula said through a statement made by his attorney, that the accusations made by former Odebrecht executives are false and that he always acted within the law.
Rousseff’s lawyers told reporters that all donations were registered and approved by the Electoral Court.
The current president of Brazil, Michel Temer, is also said to have been named by Odebrecht executives, but as the siting leader has ‘temporary immunity’ he was not included in the list of people to be investigated.
Brazilian law states that the president can not be investigated during his tenure for crimes that did not occur during the exercise of the mandate.