By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – New revelations made by former Odebrecht CEO that ex-president Dilma Rousseff knew about illicit campaign contributions made to her re-election are stirring up controversy not only with the former leader but also with Brazil’s courts.
The testimony by former Odebrecht CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, to TSE (Electoral Court) judges looking into possible illicit re-election contributions to the Rousseff-Temer 2014 ticket was supposed to be confidential, but website O Antagonista, revealed earlier this week that the executive admitted the former President knew about the out-of-the-book contributions.
“Dilma (Rousseff) knew about the size of our donation, and she knew we were the ones who donated … (that we were) who made a large part of the cash payments to [the marketer] João Santana. That she knew,” Odebrecht was quoted as saying in his testimony. Odebrecht however denied having any conversations with Rousseff about such contributions.
Dilma Rousseff’s defense stated that the former president never had any close relationship with businessman Marcelo Odebrecht, one of the informers, and never asked for contributions during “meetings in government palaces, or even asked for money” For the PT.
“Former President Dilma Rousseff has no and never had any close relationship with the entrepreneur Marcelo Odebrecht, even in the times in which she occupied the Chief of Staff Office in the Lula government,” said a statement in Rousseff’s website.
The statement also said Rousseff never asked the businessman for campaign contributions in meetings or in government offices, and insisted that the executive include evidence and documents proving the allegations.
The president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Minister Gilmar Mendes, strongly condemned the leak of confidential statements made by the executive.
“I deplore vividly, seriously, and demand that we investigate this leak,” Mendes was quoted as saying by local media. “I think that speaks badly about institutions. It is as if Brazil were the country of tricks, of infractions. Just as we cannot have leaks here, neither can leaks come from prosecutors, judges, nor anyone else,” concluded the judge.
If illicit contributions are proven, the Rousseff-Temer ticket may be annulled which would mean current President Michel Temer would have to step down and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia would become interim president.