Paper: Rousseff and Aécio Neves used Public Money in their 2014 Campaigns
One of the main newspapers of Brasil, Folha de São Paulo, has added a new explosive detail to the corruptions scandals that surround Dilma Rousseff and the political class in Brazil.
According to the newspaper, both Rousseff and her adversary, Aécio Neves, from the PMDB, used public money that had been destined to build infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup that took place in Brazil in 2014.
In a report published Thursday by the ‘Folha’ are based on ‘statements from the president of the construction company Andrade Gutierrez, Otávio Marques de Azevedo. Azevedo accused Rousseff “of financing his presidential campaign in 2014 through bribery related to contracts for the construction of the stadiums that hosted soccer matches in 2014.
Specifically, the president of one of the leading companies investigated by Operation Lava Jato explained that contracts were assigned, not put out for bids, to build stadiums like the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, the Mané Garincha in Brasilia and the costly reconstruction of the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the final between Germany and Argentina.
According to Azevedo, the contracts produced an inflation of costs that allowed the diversion of huge amounts of public money that ended up in the pockets of executives at Andrade Gutierrez.
Subsequently, the company was responsible for transforming part of this diverted funds into money in the form of legal donations that were fully recognized by the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), to Rousseff’s presidential campaign that ended with her re-election in October 2014.
In total, according to the documents provided to the Federal Justice, by the construction company Andrade Gutierrez, the company gave Rousseff’s campaign a total of R$20 million.
This amount pales in comparison with the total cost of the construction of the stadiums which reached R$8,3 billion. These costs were the main reason for the massive citizen protests of 2013, when millions of Brazilians took to the streets against the squandering pubic funds to finance a private event promoted by FIFA and its leader Joseph Blatter, who was later himself accused of corruption.
Furthermore, according to the accounts of the TSE, the eight major companies related to the corruption scandal at Petrobras, including Andrade Gutierrez, Camargo Corrêa, Engevix, Galvão Engenharia, OAS, Odebrecht and Queiroz Galvão, donated a total R$98.8 million to the campaigns of both Rousseff and its main rival, Aécio Neves.
In fact, the leader of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) and visible face of the country’s opposition was accused by Azevedo of having received a donation of R$19 million for his frustrated 2014 presidential campaign in addition to the R$31.7 million that the eight major companies being investigated in the Operation Lava Jato contributed to his candidacy that year.
After learning about the serious allegations made by Azevedo, the legal coordinator of the Rousseff campaign in 2014, Flávio Caetano, responded to ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ that “all proceeds from the campaign of the president were received and usedin accordance with the electoral legislation “and lamented that” the confessions from azevedo are being used to make politically selective leaks “.
Another fact that has turned political conditions in Brazil ever more sour is the choice of Gilmar Mendes as the new President of the Supreme Electorial Tribunal. The decision is seen as suspicious because of its timing. Mendes will be responsible for deciding on the four legal actions that, at present, require the challenge to Dilma’s mandate based on the illegal reception of donations from companies related to Operation Lava Jato.
With this panorama ahead, the continuity of the mandate of President Rousseff to 2018 seems a miracle impossible to achieve. For now, the next big step in challenging Rousseff’s continuity in power will come on April 18, when the Brazilian Congress will vote to move forward, or not, with the impeachment of the president. The vote will be taken by the 513 members of the Chamber of Deputies.
Although everything seems to indicate that the president of the Chamber will get the 172 votes needed to stop the process, the extreme weakness of her government, after the break between the Worker’s Party (PT) and the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), and its 69 MPs, suggests that there may be a call for early elections next October, when the country will hold municipal elections. Those elections may be the last battle to save the legacy of PT Rousseff and former President Lula.