Brazil’s attorney general says he’ll look into allegations against popular ex-president

AP/Fox News, 12/19/2012

Brazil’s attorney general said Wednesday he will look into allegations that  popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva knew about a massive  cash-for-votes scheme in Congress that led to the recent convictions of 25  people in a landmark trial.

Roberto Gurgel said he’ll examine statements by businessman Marcos Valerio  that Silva approved of the so-called “mensalao” monthly payout scheme and that  he used cash from it for personal expenses while in office. Silva denies the  allegations.

Valerio was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison and fined $1.3 million  for being what the Supreme Court called the “operator” of the scheme that gave  legislators cash handouts in return for their support of Silva’s policies after  he took office in 2003. Valerio made the allegations against Silva in testimony  to federal prosecutors last September, after he was already convicted but before  he was sentenced. His detractors say that indicates his testimony cannot be  taken seriously.

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