Lucy Jordan – Global Post, 12/04/2012
Over the past few months, strange things have been afoot in Brazil.
Ordinary Brazilians have been gripped nightly by complex corruption trials. Carnival masks have been fashioned in the likeness of a staid and somber judge, rather than the usual glossy celebrity.
And, most shockingly, elite politicians have been handed prison sentences for graft.
Matteson Ellis – Trust Law, 8/20/2012
Right now, Brazil is in the middle of its largest corruption trial in its history. The proceeding is being called the “Mensalão,” meaning “the big monthly payment.” Thirty-eight individuals, including current and former government officials, have been accused of paying or accepting monthly bribes, money laundering, conspiracy, fraudulent management of finance institutions, and other related crimes to secure support in Congress for the legislative priorities of Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Al Jazeera recently reported: “The case is of such great importance that Brazil’s powerful Public Defender (the Ministério Público) has established a website to explain the trial to children.” Learn more background here.
In legal terms, the mensalão deals with purely domestic bribery issues. There is no indication that foreign bribery played a role in the scheme. But the case is still relevant to FCPA compliance practitioners. Here are some reasons why:
Another Sign that Brazil is Confronting Corruption. The mensalão marks the first time that such a large number of high-level individuals, both from politics and business, are going to trial for corruption. Nearly all Brazilians are talking about the case. The news is covering it every night. There are heightened expectations. The atmosphere is so charged, there is even concern among legal circles that the hysteria will lead to a miscarriage of justice – the Supreme Court is under pressure to act.
D.C. anchor Mike Walter and Director of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute Paulo Sotero discuss the recent announcement of one of the largest political corruption cases in Brazil’s history and how the scandal could tarnish the reputation of a former president and the ruling party.
Watch video here…