BRAZIL: 'Dilma And Lula Knew About Odebrecht's Corruption,' Says Palocci

BRAZIL: 'Dilma And Lula Knew About Odebrecht's Corruption,' Says Palocci

Former Brazilian minister Antonio Palocci said in testimony on Wednesday that Odebrecht had a very intense relationship with the governments of former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Palocci was a minister in the Lula government and, during the administration of the president Dilma Rousseff, acted as chief-of-staff. During his testimony, he said that relations between the Lula government and Odebrecht were “very fluid.”

“Odebrecht had a fluid relationship with the government in all respects: carrying out projects and campaigning, most with one cash but the cash one oftenoriginating from illicit contracts,” he said, referring to donations declared to the Brazilian Electoral Court.

Palocci said he was aware that Odebrecht was diverting money from contracts with Petrobras, adding that the super-filling scheme for contracts in the oil and gas supply business was well known. According to him, former President Lula also became aware of the irregularities. Pallocci also spoke of an alleged “blood pact” between Lula and the Odebrecht summit.

The former minister said that Dilma Rousseff's election to the Presidency left Odebrecht directors tense, as the former president would have acted against the company's interests when she was Lula's chief-of-staff.

According to Palocci, the construction company was the creator of the project for the two hydroelectric plants of the Madeira River and would like to touch both projects, which would be submitted to a bidding process. He added that Dilma, at the time, was a “fundamental barrier” to the plan of the construction company because he did not want the company to do both plants.

“She thought it was an inadequate concentration of works, and convinced me and the president that it was not appropriate,” Palocci said.

Dilma's moves have led Odebrecht to be defeated in bidding for one of the two plants. In the one that won, the construction company managed to keep the work under harsh conditions, according to the former minister.

In his testimony, Palocci added that Dilma Rousseff apparently complied with the request for cooperation with Odebrecht and cited as an example the concession of Tom Jobim international airport in Rio de Janeiro, also known as Gale?o.

“Odebrecht was very anxious to have a large airport under its command, and in the first wave of privatizations, where the airports of Guarulhos, Campinas and Brasilia were privatized, Odebrecht was a loser. In losing, it filed an appeal against the winning consortium – Triunfo and UTC, “said the former minister.

He said he had been approached by Marcelo Odebrecht several times to intercede in favor of the company because he had appointed the president of the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). Palocci said he took the matter to then-President Dilma Rousseff.

“She said that they should be calm, that in a next bid she would take care of this matter. They have withdrawn the appeal from Anac and were benefited in the Gale?o bid,” he said.

According to him, a clause was included in the bidding document of the airport that prevented the participation of the winners of the airport auction of 2011, when the airports of Guarulhos, Campinas and Bras?lia were offered.

Lula's lawyers noted that Pallocci did not provide evidence to support his version. Dilma accused her former chief-of-staff of lying.