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Brazil president's ex-aide to be tried for corruption

Brazil president's ex-aide to be tried for corruption

Brazil's Supreme Court voted on Monday to put Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's former chief of staff on trial on corruption charges, the closest Lula ally to be tried for a vote-buying scheme.
The justices voted unanimously to put on trial Jose Dirceu, the architect behind Lula's rise to power who resigned from the cabinet in June 2005 because of accusations he headed a scheme to pay lawmakers in Congress to support the ruling Workers Party, known as PT.
They also voted to put Delubio Soares, the former treasurer of Lula's party, on trial on corruption charges. Dirceu and Soares could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.
Brazil's chief public prosecutor, Antonio Fernando Souza, charged Dirceu with buying political support of nine party leaders in the lower house of Congress. The prosecutor accused PT leaders, bankers, and publicists of forming a "criminal organization" that used public and private funds to obtain political favors.
Dirceu's lawyer, Jose Luis de Oliveira Lima, said there are no facts supporting the charge against his client.
"I have learned since law school that a court decision must be respected and followed, which doesn't mean that I agree with it," Oliveira Lima said.
Dirceu and former PT president Jose Genoino were absolved on Friday of embezzlement charges, but face other accusations the court has yet to consider.
Lula's party has admitted using illicit funds to finance election campaigns of its members and allies in Congress between 2002 and 2004, but denied the money was used to bribe legislators.
Brazil's supreme court accepted on Friday charges against Joao Paulo Cunha, a former PT lawmaker and president of the lower house, and Lula's former communications minister, Luiz Gushiken.
Few politicians accused of corruption spend time in jail in Brazil. Some are absolved and many manage to stall lawsuits in a notoriously slow judicial system.


Updated : 2021-07-26 14:03 GMT+08:00