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Brazil: Lula da Silva’s transition team includes 18 names convicted or suspected of corruption offenses

By Diógenes Freire

In addition to the vice president himself, Geraldo Alckmin, the list includes former allies of Lula da Siva implicated in the Lava Jato, such as Renan Calheiros, Gleisi Hoffmann, Paulo Bernardo, Aloizio Mercadante, Paulo Okamoto, Humberto Costa, and others.

The coordinator of Lula da Silva’s transition team, Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), presented more than 60 names to participate in the new government’s transition.

In addition to the vice president himself, the team includes the names of 17 others involved in corruption scandals.

Not forgetting, of course, Lula da Silva, who was arrested as part of Lava Jato but released after a Supreme Court (STF) ruling.

Lula da Silva's transition team includes 18 names convicted or suspected of corruption offenses
Lula da Silva’s transition team includes 18 names convicted or suspected of corruption offenses. (Photo internet reproduction)

In 2016, Folha de São Paulo revealed that Geraldo Alckmin appeared in Odebrecht tables under the code name “Santo,” which was associated with a 2002 Alckmin government project, doubling the Mogi-Dutra highway.

The code name also appeared in a 2004 e-mail sent by an Odebrecht executive.

In the email, Marcio Pelegrino stated that transferring R$500,000 (US$96,000) to the campaign was necessary “given our local interests.”

The executive confirmed that the alleged bribe recipient was “Santo.”

COMMUNICATION

In the group coordinating the transition of communications is the former Minister of Pasta, Paulo Bernardo (the ex-husband of Gleisi Hoffmann).

In 2016, during the 18th phase of Lava Jato in Brasilia, the former minister was arrested on suspicion of receiving R$7 million from the system.

In addition to Paulo Bernardo, the names of economic and human rights expert Alessandra Orofino, the former executive secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Cesar Álvarez, and former federal deputy Jorge Bittar, who is also being investigated under Lava Jato on suspicion of having received R$700,000 in cash from Odebrecht for the 2010 election campaign, also appear.

HUMAN RIGHTS

The human rights team is headed by Petista congresswoman Maria do Rosário (PT-RS), who not only represents feminist issues such as abortion and the gender agenda but is also suspected in the Lava Jato investigation of having received R$150,000 in cash from Odebrecht for the 2010 election campaign.

Maria do Rosário will work alongside state deputy Emídio de Souza (PT-SP), who is under investigation for corruption offenses during his two terms as mayor of Osasco (SP) from 2008 to 2016.

The human rights team also includes sociologist and political scientist Maria Vitória Benevides, lawyer Silvio Almeida, economist Luis Alberto Melchetti, LGBT activist Janaína Barbosa de Oliveira and Rubens Linhares Mendonça, who will be in charge of people with disabilities.

PLANNING, BUDGET, AND ADMINISTRATION

Responsibility for the transition of the Planning, Budget, and Administration sector was given to former Finance Minister Guido Mantega, Federal Deputy Enio Verri (PT-PR), economist Esther Duek, and President of the Federal Council for the Economy Antônio Correia Lacerda.

In 2016, Mantega was arrested during the 34th phase of Operation Lava Jato for his collaboration with businessman Eike Batista, who was accused of negotiating money transfers to settle campaign debts of parties allied with the government in 2010.

In a testimony at the time, Eike said the former minister asked him to make a R$5 million payment to the PT.

Federal Deputy Enio Verri was convicted of misconduct in 2013. Enio and 14 other defendants were accused of accumulating functions and salaries.

INDUSTRY, TRADE, AND SERVICES

The Industry, Commerce, and Services team includes former Rio Grande do Sul governor Germano Rigotto (MDB), federal deputy Marcelo Ramos (PSD-AM), Jackson Schneider, an Embraer executive, and Rafael Lucchesi of Senai.

Germano Rigotto’s name keeps popping up in connection with major scandals.

In 2009, the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul created a CPI to investigate corruption allegations involving the government of Yeda Crusius (PSDB), as well as possible links between the investigations of Operations Rodin and Solidária (Federal Police) related to the embezzlement of about R$44 million in Detran gaúcho and a system of bid rigging in the state that may have caused a loss of about R$300 million.

According to Operation Rodin, which uncovered the embezzlement of R$44 million by Detran in Rio Grande do Sul, the fraud began in 2003 during Rigotto’s term.

In 2001, the Rio Grande do Sul newspaper Jornal Já published a report on a fraud case that took place in 1987 at the state electricity company CEEE.

At the time, the brother of former governor Germano Rigotto, Lindomar Rigotto, was working in CEEE’s financial directorate.

Lindomar was investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1995 for embezzlement in constructing 11 CEEE substations.

HEALTH

Former Health Minister Humberto Costa (PT-PE) will take over as head of the Health Department alongside physician Roberto Kalil. Humberto Costa was also a target of Lava Jato.

According to the investigation, the senator allegedly received R$1 million in cash from Odebrecht for his 2010 election campaign in exchange for his services in favor of the construction company in work on the Suape petrochemical complex.

COORDINATION OIF POLITICAL ARTICULATION

The group is led by PT leader and former Minister of the Civic Center in the Dilma Rousseff government, federal deputy Gleisi Hoffmann, who is also being investigated for passive corruption and money laundering as part of the Lava Jato trial for allegedly receiving diverted funds from Petrobras for the 2010 Senate campaign.

The core also includes:

  • Antônio Brito, PSD-BA federal deputy;
  • Wolney Queiroz, PDT-PE federal deputy;
  • Renan Calheiros (AL) and Jader Barbalho (PA), MDB senators;
  • Juliano Medeiros, PSOL president;
  • Carlos Siqueira, PSB president;
  • Wesley Diógenes, speech spokesman;
  • Luciana Santos, president of PCdoB;
  • José Luiz Penna, president of PV;
  • Jefferson Coriteac, vice president of Solidarity;
  • Daniel Tourinho, president of Agir;
  • Felipe Espirito Santo, member of the board of Pros; and
  • Guilherme Italo, member of the board of Avante.

Deputy Antônio Brito (PSD-BA) was investigated under Operation Lava Jato on suspicion of receiving R$100,000 in cash 2 from Odebrecht for the 2010 election campaign.

In 2016, at the request of the Ministry, deputy Wolney Queiroz (PDT-PE) was investigated for his alleged involvement in the so-called “farra das passagens” when the scandal involving the use of chamber funds for private purposes became public.

Last year, Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL) was indicted by the Federal Police for corruption and money laundering.

The senator was accused of demanding and receiving R$1 million in bribes from Odebrecht in 2012.

Also, in 2021, Jader Barbalho benefited from a decision by STF Minister Dias Toffoli to suspend investigations into fraud in contracts with social organizations for managing hospitals in Pará to divert public funds to private individuals and public employees.

Jader Barbalho’s son, Pará Governor Helder Barbalho (MDB), was accused of receiving R$1.5 million from Odebrecht in cash 2 for his 2014 election campaign.

In 2015, the STF opened a case against the federal vice president and current president of the PCdoB, Luciana Santos, for allegedly receiving illegal transfers from the Ministry of Sports.

The investigation also targeted the then-mayor of Olinda (PE), Renildo Calheiros (brother of Renan Calheiros).

SMALL COMPANY

The team includes André Ceciliano, president of the RJ Legislative Assembly, Paulo Okamoto, former president of Sebrae, Tatiana Conceição Valente, solidarity economy expert, and Paulo Feldman, professor at USP.

In 2020, the president of the RJ Legislative Assembly, André Ceciliano (PT), was accused by the Ministry of State of being one of the protagonists of the corruption scheme through which public funds were diverted from the health sector.

The investigation revealed that the then governor of the state, Wilson Witzel (PSC), was the head of the system.

In 2021, André Ceciliano was released by the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice after being accused of heading a list of parliamentarians who had promoted the so-called “rachadinha” in their offices. According to the investigation, Ceciliano had moved about R$49 million.

Already, the former president of Sebrae, Paulo Okamoto, was indicted along with Lula and former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci for money laundering as part of Operation Lava Jato.

According to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (MPF), it involved donations from Odebrecht to the Lula Institute to conceal remittances amounting to R$4 million between December 2013 and March 2014.

COORDINATION OF TECHNICAL GROUPS

Coordinating the technical groups is Aloizio Mercadante, a former senator and former minister of the departments of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation and the Citizen’s House during the Dilma years.

Mercadante, who still serves in the Civic Chamber, was targeted by the Supreme Court (STF) after being cited in the indictment against Ricardo Pessoa, the owner of construction company UTC who was sentenced to eight years in prison as part of Lava Jato.

According to Pessoa, Mercadante attended a meeting where a contribution in the form of two cash amounts was agreed upon for his campaign for the São Paulo state government in 2010.

According to the informant, R$250 thousand was delivered officially, and another R$250 thousand without an official explanation.

Mercadante denied his involvement in the two money deals.

With information from Brasil sem medo

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