Brazil Fights Back Against Cronyism: Convicts 20 in Vote-Buying Scheme
Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal has convicted 20 of 38 defendants in a vote-buying scheme that is dredging up questions about former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration.
These questions revolve around congressmen, members of the governing party, and senior officials who worked directly under Lula.
For example, Lula's former chief of staff Jose Dirceu de Oliveira e Silva was among those convicted. And this includes his conviction for organizing the whole scheme. Prosecutors in the case say Dirceu oversaw the channeling "of funds from state companies to the governing Workers Party, while monthly payments were also made to lawmakers of various parties to buy their votes in the federal legislature."
Lula is denying any knowledge of the vote-buying scheme, but the investigation is far from over.
The justice overseeing the trial, Joaquim Barbosa, has referred to the vote-buying scheme as "the most daring and outrageous corruption scheme and embezzlement of public funds ever seen in Brazil."
Prosecutors in this case are already comparing the cover-up to Watergate.