HomeNewsBriefTwists in Massive Corruption Scandal Rock Brazil
BRIEF

Twists in Massive Corruption Scandal Rock Brazil

BRAZIL / 17 MAR 2016 BY QUENTON KING EN

Shortly after Brazil President Dilma Rousseff named predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff, a judge blocked the move, the latest twist in Brazil’s ongoing massive corruption scandal. 

Rousseff appointed Lula — as he is popularly known — to the cabinet position on March 16, one week after prosecutors filed charges against the former president for his alleged role in the multi-billion dollar corruption scheme at state-owned oil company Petrobras. Under Brazilian law, only the Supreme Court can try members of a president’s cabinet, according to the BBC

Rousseff made the appointment on the same day that a judge ordered the government to release a taped conversation between Lula and Rousseff, which fueled suspicions that Lula was made chief of staff in order to shield him from prosecution. 

Shortly after the announcement and the release of the tape, thousands of protesters took to the streets in several cities across Brazil, reported Reuters. By the end of the day, a federal judge attempted to suspend Lula’s appointment only to have the order overturned, only for another judge in Rio de Janeiro to re-issue the injunction. As the Financial Times reports, the government is now appealing that latest development to the Supreme Court. 

Rousseff rejected the idea that Lula’s appointment was intended to provide the former president with legal protection.

“Lula’s arrival in my government strengthens it and there are people who don’t want it to be stronger,” she said.

InSight Crime Analysis

The investigations into corruption at Petrobras have reached a critical juncture. Although the multi-year investigation had already ensnared numerous high-level politicians and businessmen, prosecutors have now reached the pinnacle of Brazil’s elite. In addition to the controversy surrounding Rousseff and Lula, billionaire Marcelo Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years in prison on March 8 for his role in the Petrobras scandal.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

If Lula’s appointment as chief of staff ends up going through, this may further damage his credibility rather than help it, given the ongoing massive protests. The same is true for Rousseff: as many as 1.4 million Brazilians already turned out on March 13 to protest corruption and demand the president’s resignation. 

Whether or not Rousseff did in fact intentionally shield Lula from prosecution, authorities and the public have already demonstrated that they will not accept the decision quietly. 

This story has been updated since it was first published on March 17. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 19 JAN 2018

Record highs, all-time lows, and a few surprises -- 2017 proved a remarkable year in terms of homicide levels for…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 SEP 2015

Following the unprecedented resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala is gearing up for presidential elections this weekend. However, the…

CARTEL DE LOS SOLES / 7 JUL 2016

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro has reportedly asked his Colombian counterpart not to extradite to the United States an alleged Cartel of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…