BBC News, 08/31/2015
A mayor in Brazil is on the run after she was accused of siphoning off funds from the school system and running the town remotely through WhatsApp.
Lidiane Leite, 25, lived a life of luxury in the capital of Maranhao state, prosecutors said.They say her only contact with her town, Bom Jardim, was through daily WhatsApp messages to her cabinet.
An arrest warrant has been issued against her and her boyfriend, who served as her main adviser.
Paulo Trevisani, Wall Street Journal, 8/4/2015
Protesters from a far-left organization that calls for the distribution of farmland to the poor occupied Brazil’s Finance Ministry, forcing the suspension of official business in the building.
Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
The Landless Farmers Movement, also known as MST, was protesting cuts in funding for land distribution to 1.8 billion Brazilian reais ($520 million) from 3.5 billion reais, a spokeswoman for the group said at the site.
A spokesman for the Agrarian Development Ministry, the body in charge of Brazil’s land-distribution program, said that figure referred to the full size of cuts across the ministry, although a good part of it was related to land distribution.
Joe Leahy and Aline Rocha – Financial Times, 7/27/2015
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s firebrand former president, told a weekend meeting of trade unionists that the country’s political left was suffering from “persecution”.
Unnamed “elitists” were jealous of the achievements of his left-leaning ruling Workers’ party (PT) in raising the living standards of the poor, he said.
“What we see on the television looks like the Nazis criminalising the Jewish people,” he said. Mr Lula da Silva was right about one thing — the PT-led ruling coalition is under pressure as never before. But rather than Nazis, the “persecutors” are Brazil’s increasingly proactive and independent federal police, public prosecutors and judges.
Rogerio Jelmayer and Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal – 7/16/2015
Brazil’s ruling party was newly buffeted on Thursday as federal prosecutors opened an investigation into former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for alleged influence peddling on behalf of a Brazilian construction giant.
Officials are trying to determine whether the popular Mr. da Silva used his clout upon leaving office to convince international leaders to award contracts to Odebrecht SA, and to push Brazil’s development bank, known as BNDES, to finance those deals with subsidized loans.
Under Brazilian law, both acts are criminal offenses, with influence peddling punishable by up to five years in prison. The alleged offenses occurred between 2011 and 2014, after Mr. da Silva left office, and involved a series of big infrastructure deals that Odebrecht won with nations including Ghana, Angola, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Rupert Neate – The Guardian, 7/10/2015
A US judge has told Petrobras bosses to prepare for a $98bn lawsuit over allegations that executives at the Brazilian oil company and senior politicians were involved in a huge money-laundering and corruption scheme dubbed “Operation Carwash”.
US district judge Jed Rakoff on Friday threw out Petrobras’s efforts to get the case dismissed and told the company and investors who are bringing the class action lawsuit to prepare for trial as soon as February 2016. Senior executives and Brazilian politicians are likely to be called to appear before the New York court, if the case gets the final go-ahead.
Shareholders, led by the UK Universities Superannuation Scheme, which manages the pension funds of British academics, claim they lost billions as a result of the scandal which has been dubbed “Operation Carwash” because huge sums of money were allegedly laundered through a money exchange in a nondescript gas station in Brasília, the Brazilian capital.
Maria Carolina Marcello and Eduardo Simões – Reuters, 6/26/2015
Two Brazilian ministers denied on Friday that there was anything illegal about campaign donations made in recent years by a businessman allegedly involved in massive corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.
President Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, denied that 500,000 reais ($159,908) in campaign donations made to him in 2010 by companies owned by Ricardo Pessoa were linked to kickbacks at Petrobras.
Social Communications Minister Edinho Silva said in a separate statement that 7.5 million reais donated by Pessoa to Rousseff’s presidential campaign last year were legal and approved by Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court. Silva was the treasurer of Rousseff’s campaign.
Rupert Neate – The Guardian, 6/25/2015
A US court will hear arguments on Thursday that oil giant Petrobras should stand trial for a culture of bribery and corruption that has rocked Brazilian businesses and political elite and lowered the company’s value by $90bn.
Investors, led by the UK Universities Superannuation Scheme, which manages the pension funds of British academics, claim they lost billions as a result of the huge money laundering and corruption scheme. The investors, which also include the retirement funds of state workers in Ohio, Idaho and Hawaii, claim in court filings that Petrobras was “rotten to the core”.
The scandal, which has been dubbed “operation carwash” because huge amounts of money were allegedly laundered through a money exchange in a nondescript gas station in the Brazilian capital, has already led to the indictment of more than 40 Brazilian executives allegedly involved in the bribery scheme dating back to 2006.