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. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 OCT 2022

Homicides and drug trafficking are pushing up crime levels in Uruguay and authorities are unable to stop it.

BRAZIL / 30 AUG 2021

Police in Brazil have broken up a smuggling ring that had a curious modus operandi. For years, its divers strapped…

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 APR 2022

Elements of the Venezuelan underworld, whether drug cartels, street gangs or illegal mining groups, have hit upon a unique way…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…