Brazil's love affair with corruption continues

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 19, 2017, 07:36 AM IST

Brazil's president Michel Temer is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Former president Lula is facing trial over corruption charges ||The presidency of Dilma Rousseff was overshadowed by the Petrobras scandal

It seems Brazilian politics just can't catch a break as President Michel Temer becomes embroiled in a corruption scandal of his own. There have even been calls to impeach the President and you can read more details in our story here. These corruption allegations are only the latest to hit people at the very top of Brazilian politics, if we look at the tenures of the previous two presidents, Luiz Inacio da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

The tenure of Dilma Rousseff was overshadowed by the Petrobras scandal (AFP)


The presidency of Dilma Rousseff, in power from 2011 to 2016, was plagued by allegations of corruption involving the state oil company Petrobras scandal. Before she became president, Rousseff was chairman of Petrobras, and while she denies any knowledge of what happened, money from corporations who signed contracts with Petrobras was skimmed by Petrobras executives, lobbyists and politicians belonging to Rousseff's leftist Worker's Party.

The embezzlement amounted to billions of dollars, billions that ended up getting accumulated in Swiss bank accounts and was possibly used to fund election campaigns of the ruling Worker's party. Rousseff, eventually did get impeached herself, though not over these corruption allegations, but for breaking fiscal laws when her government moved funds between official programmes to hide a budget deficit.

Former president Lula Da Silva is currently facing trial over corruption charges (AFP)


Before Rousseff, Luiz Inacio da Silva or Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2011, was involved in the Petrobras scandal himself and is currently facing trial for it. He is alleged to have received a seaside apartment near Sao Paulo from the Brazilian construction company OAS, one of the main contractors for Petrobras. Rousseff had even appointed Lula as a cabinet minister in order to give him legal immunity from prosecution during the Petrobras scandal, but that was later blocked by a judge.

Even during his first term, Lula was hit by a vote-buying scandal, in which money from Marcos Valeiro, an advertising executive with several government contracts, was allegedly channelled to bribe lawmakers to vote in favour of government bills. Some of the money from Valeiro was also alleged to have been used to fund Lula's own election campaigns.

Sadly, Lula has emerged as the frontrunner in opinion polls to become president in the 2018 elections. (Though a conviction in his trial would bar him from competing.) To expect him to be the man who cleans up Brazilian politics would be a fantasy.