Rousseff denies trying to block investigation
A day after Brazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot asked the Supreme Court to authorise an obstruction of justice investigation against President Rousseff, she has denied having done anything wrong. President Dilma Rousseff said accusations that she tried to protect corrupt officials in Petrobras were "false and irresponsible." She also stated that the initial evidence given to police over the Petrobras scandal were manipulated.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is a Brazilian politician who served as President of Brazil from 1 January 2003 to 1 January 2011. He is regarded as one of the most popular politicians in the history of Brazil and among the most popular leaders in the world. He initiated several social programs like Fome Zero and Bolsa Família, Brazil's largest social assistance program.
Police officials raided the home and several properties of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the early hours of 4 March, as part of an ongoing investigation called "Operation Car Wash", over a corruption scandal in state-run Petrobras. Officers took the ex-president in an unmarked car to a police station at Congonhas airport. He was released after three hours of questioning.
The investigation called Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash) was launched by Brazilian Judge Sergio Moro in March, 2014. Investigators allege firms and businessmen bribed corrupt officials in order to secure lucrative oil and gas contracts with state-run Petrobras oil company. The scandal involved client companies overcharging Pertobras for contracts, and paying part of their illicit gains as kickbacks to Petrobras executives and Brazilian politicians.
Prosecutors alleged that Lula's Workers' Party, partly financed its election campaigns through these kickbacks. They also alleged that Lula got one of the client firms, Construtora OAS, to renovate his beachfront villa in exchange for favours.
Official sources stated that, Brazilian prosecutors have filed charges against ex-President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in a corruption probe. The charges still have to be formally accepted by a judge, in order to initiate legal proceedings. Lula denied any wrongdoing and said that the accusations were politically motivated. The charges were related to a major corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.
Ruling Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was the Chairperson of the Petrobras's board of directors from 2003 to 2010, the same period during which the alleged corruption scandal occurred. Though she has denied having knowledge of the scandal, investigators have not yet officially questioned her.
Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accepted a key ministerial role in President Dilma Rousseff's government. Members of the governing Workers' Party say his appointment will strengthen Rousseff's beleaguered administration. While there has been no official comment on the matter by either Lula or Brazilian officials, sources state that the position may offer significant legal protection to Lula.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff appointed her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as her new chief of staff. The move which makes Lula a Cabinet member, makes him immune to prosecution from federal courts, effectively shielding him against the ongoing "Operation Car Wash" corruption probe. Under the Brazilian constitution, Cabinet members can only be tried by the Brazilian Supreme Court.
Judge Sergio Moro, the lead prosecutor in Operation Lava-jato, released nearly 50 audio recordings of phone conversations between Lula and Rousseff, where Rousseff told Lula she would name him as minister "just to use in case it's necessary." Massive protests broke out across Brazil in response.
Hours after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as the Chief of Presidential Staff in Dilma Rousseff's government, a federal judge passed an injunction blocking the appointment. Itagiba Catta Preta Neto, a federal judge in Brasília granted the injunction, claiming the move could compromise a police investigation. However, Lula's supporters were confident that the decision would be overturned by a higher court.
Brazilian Senator Delcidio Amaral charged in the Petrobras corruption scandal said that President Dilma Rousseff knew everything about the scam and benefitted from kickbacks. President Dilma Rousseff has said she will take legal action against the senator, accusing him of fabricating the claims. Meanwhile, Brazil's Justice Minister threatened to replace teams conducting the Petrobras inquiry if any more material is leaked to the press.