Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva knew about and used funds from a far-reaching vote-buying scheme to pay for personal expenses, according to testimony by a convicted former consultant to the ruling Workers’ Party.
The testimony, which was reported yesterday by the newspaper O Estado de S Paulo, was given in September to Brazil’s attorney general’s office by Marcos Valerio, an advertising executive recently convicted as a bagman in the scheme.
Valerio also testified that an aide to the former president made veiled threats when the scandal erupted in efforts to keep him quiet, the paper said.
Valerio reportedly gave the testimony voluntarily in an attempt to reduce his sentence – though he eventually still received 40 years – after he and 24 other former Lula aides and associates were convicted in a landmark trial heard by Brazil’s Supreme Court.
Mr Lula, still Brazil’s most influential political figure and a possible contender for a new run at the presidency in 2014, has denied any knowledge of the scheme since it first came to light in 2005, embroiling the first of his two terms.