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By Luis Miranda, The Real Agenda
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Lula being investigated by Brazilian Federal Prosecutor

Saturday, May 2, 2015 14:46
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The former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, may have entered the spotlight of the Brazilian prosecutor leading the corruption investigation at Petrobras. After the scandal of the so-called operation “Lava Jato”, reports on Brazilian media state that the Prosecutor’s Office in Brasilia has opened an investigation against the former president for influence peddling to facilitate the creation of contracts related to construction projects with foreign governments and companies such as Odebrecht. Lula would be suspected of having used his influence to secure business contracts with representatives of foreign governments on the construction of roads, ports and airports that were financed by the public bank BNDES. The bank is said to have given financial support to infrastructure projects throughout the region and also in Africa. The prosecution justified the opening of the process against Lula da Silva for “alleged economic advantages derived directly or indirectly from the former Brazilian president to influence decisions made by public officials in favor of Odebrecht, and in particular with the governments of Dominican Republic and Cuba. According to details published in news reports, projects in Cuba were directly or indirectly financed by BNDES. Odebrecht is one of those responsible for the work at the Cuban port of Mariel, which was funded by the bank. The Brazilian magazine Epoca says the bank closed the financing of at least $1,6 billion earmarked for Odebrecht “after Lula, as president, met with the presidents of Ghana and Dominican Republic”. The text highlights a Senate study pointing to the construction that received $848 million in credit business operations abroad. A meeting in 2013 with the Ghanaian President, Mahama Dramana, for example, may have helped facilitate construction contracts in the African country. The revelation was disqualified by Lula during a May Day celebrations. The former president said that the publication was “rubbish”. “Take all the journalists from the magazines Veja and Epoca together and they do not give 10% of my honesty,” he said. Veja raised suspicions last week about Lula’s relationship with OAS, another construction company that has less than a clean sheet when it comes to its negotiating practices. Odebrecht has published a note saying that the a news report on Time magazine, which also associates the company to questionable practices, is based on a process of Federal Prosecutors, which may indicate that there may be “just one question, a request for clarification that does not generate any administrative or legal consequences. All there is left is an intention to wear out the image of the company, which seems to be the main objective of some people against Odebrecht in recent months.” The note also says there is an “attempt to involve us in false allegations of corruption without any concrete proof or final finding.” The current wave of accusations makes it clear that the Dilma government may face a similar wear and tear as in the case of “Lava Jato”, that may weaken even more her fragile government. In a note to clients, the consultancy Eurasia Group said in a report to its clients that there is potential for more political tension in the coming weeks. While acknowledging that the notion of influence peddling is vague because Lula was an ordinary citizen in the period when the supposed actions took place, the claim that the BNDES may have been pressed “can become a problem for Lula and Dilma’s government.” The current Brazilian president would have to choose between admitting an anti-corruption agenda and not taking any position on the accusation now being faced by the former president. An important point leading the prosecution’s investigation is a series of trips sponsored by Odebrecht so that Lula da Silva participated in conferences in countries where the company was later hired to carry out construction projects. Some of the countries where Lula traveled include Venezuela, Ghana, Cuba and Dominican Republic. This should be investigated by the Federal Prosecution, says Epoca in its report. The issue of Lula travelling and talking on behalf of Odebrecht was the subject of criticism in the past and executives from the company have always defended the “lobby” conducted by Lula because there was no better “poster boy” in the country than him. In Brazil, lobbying is not regulated as in other countries, which always leaves matters such as this one to a very loose interpretation. In 2013, Lula’s lobbying was the subject of news reports. On that occasion, foreign trade specialists came to the defense of the kind of “mediation” done by Lula. They even compared his performance to the role of King Juan Carlos, who, until recently, visited countries to promote investments by Spanish companies. “Lula is like a pastor that spreads enthusiasm on investors,” said Otavio Azevedo, a former president of Andrade Gutierrez, another construction company that operates in Brazil. Read the rest below at the source link


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