By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – One of former President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva’s most powerful cabinet members, Antonio Palocci, told Judge Sergio Moro yesterday (September 6th) shocking news implicating Lula and former President Rousseff in bribery schemes.
Palocci said that construction giant Odebrecht purchased an apartment in São Paulo and land for the Lula Institute for the former president as compensation for the advantages that the company received during the PT government.
“Odebrecht’s relationship with the government of former President Lula and former President Rousseff was very intense, driven by advantages directed at the company and fees paid by Odebrecht to public officials in the form of campaign donations,” Palocci said in his statement to Judge Moro.
“And I am aware [of bribes] because I participated in many of these negotiations as President Lula’s Finance Minister and as Chief of Staff for President Rousseff,” added the former cabinet member who is in jail, convicted to twelve years in prison for passive corruption and money laundering in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) graft.
According to Palocci, Odebrecht transferred R$4 million in cash to the Lula Institute as a bribe. Palocci also said that the contractor gave another R$300 million to the PT (Workers Party), and that the former president knew that it was ‘dirty money’.
In the Rousseff Administration, Palocci said that Oderbrecht obtained advantages to win the bid for the concession of Rio’s Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. “There was a clause that prevented the winner of the Guarulhos [São Paulo International Airport] bidding from participating in Rio’s auction. This [clause] was put at the request of Odebrecht,” he said in his deposition.
In its Facebook page, the Lula Institute states that ‘Palocci repeats the role of a defendant who not only gives up defending himself but, without a commitment to speak the truth, validates the prosecution’s charges in order to obtain a reduction in his sentence’.
Former President Lula, through his social media outlets, reaffirmed that he never committed any illicit act ‘either before, during, or after exercising two mandates as President of the Republic, elected by the Brazilian people’.