Daniella Jinkings and Débora Zampier Reporters Agência Brasil
Brasilia – The first of many “votes” in the biggest corruption trial ever dealt with by the Brazilian Supreme Court occurred yesterday. This is the big monthly allowance (“mensalão”) trial in which 36 defendants are accused of participating in a vote-buying scheme that used public monies to pay members of Congress to support the first Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva administration during the period 2003-2005.
The first vote in the mensalão trial was cast by the relator, associate justice Joaquim Barbosa, more or less the equivalent of Special Master in cases of original jurisdiction (he prepares the evidence and factual findings that go into the case file; then, in accordance with court liturgy, he makes an oral presentation to the rest of the court. Because the mensalão case is so large and complicated (50,000 pages), for the first time in the court’s history Barbosa insisted on having the case file digitized so that all eleven justices could have ready, easy access to it). Barbosa also innovated in making a further change in court procedure: this very complicated case is being dealt with in parts or slices (“fatiado”). The justices usually read a single opinion, or vote, on a case. In the mensalão, the votes will come in parts, or slices; the first slice to be dealt with was the financial arm of the corruption ring. Barbosa began by following the money.
In his vote, the relator found the former director of marketing at the Banco do Brasil, Henrique Pizzolato, guilty of malfeasance (“peculato” – misconduct in public office, that is, using his government position and/or government funds in illegal activities), passive corruption and money laundering. He also found adman Marcos Valério and his business partners, Cristiano Paz and Ramon Hollerbach, who ran the DNA ad agency, guilty of malfeasance and active corruption (although not government officials, Barbosa made it clear in a long, detailed opinion that Valério, Paz and Hollerbach were engaged in the misuse of public funds for private ends - that it was government money that fed the slush fund that paid out the mensalão with the money moving from the state-run Banco do Brasil to the advertising agency, DNA).
The schedule for the next Supreme Court session on the mensalão, Wednesday, August 22 (beginning at 2:00 pm), is for associate justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who is the “revisor,” to review (“revisar”) Barbosa’s vote.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Link - Atualizada - Relator do mensalão vota pela condenação de Henrique Pizzolato, Marcos Valério e sócios da agência DNA