Corruption case roils Brazil

Tom Murphy and Gerald Jeffris – The Wall Street Journal, 07/18/2012

BRASILIA—An imminent Supreme Court trial of former government and ruling-party officials is reviving Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal in two decades, with the potential to damage not only the Workers’ Party, but also popular ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The trial, set to begin Aug. 2, stems from allegations, first aired in 2005, that Mr. da Silva’s powerful chief-of-staff José Dirceu offered monthly bribes, equal in some cases to more than $10,000, to members of Congress in exchange for their votes. Prosecutors, who are charging 38 defendants, allege the bribe money was skimmed from the federal government’s advertising budget.

Mr. Dirceu and other Lula administration figures, who have maintained their innocence, resigned in the face of the allegations at the time, saying they wanted to save the administration from embarrassment.

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