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.