Criminal charges have been filed again Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, two former Presidents of Brazil for allegedly forming a criminal organization.
Brazil, in South America, is one of the world’s biggest democracies. From 2000 to 2012, the country’s average annual GDP grew at a rate of over 5%. In 2012, the economy surpassed that of the United Kingdom, temporarily making it sixth largest economy in the world. In 2017, it was reported that it was in the midst of its worst ever recession. The growth rate is now 8% lesser than it was in December 2014. However, it still remains one of the most influential countries in the region.
The region has also been grappling with increased political instability in the recent years. This is largely due to an ongoing investigation called “Operation Car Wash”. Dubbed the “Operation Car Wash”, it has already arraigned a number of politicians and elites.
The controversy surrounds the bribes paid to political leaders to secure deals with Petrobras (a semi-public Brazilian multinational corporation in the petroleum). In July 2017, former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio da Silva (Lula) was convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption.
Dilma Vana Rousseff was the 36th President of Brazil. She served from 2011 until 2016, when she was impeached. She was the first woman to be President in Brazil. She also holds the distinction of being the first democratically elected female President to be impeached and removed from office. Before becoming the President, she served as Chief of Staff to Lula. She was impeached after she was accused of breaking budgetary laws in 2016.
Lula and Rousseff have been formally charged with racketeering for plotting to skim funds from Petrobras, the state-owned oil firm. They are among eight members of the Workers Party who have been implicated by Rodrigo Janot, the country’s top prosecutor.
Janot has accused Lula and the other accused members of forming a criminal organization. Lula was allegedly the mastermind and the head of this organization. These are the first criminal charges to be levied on Rousseff who has been accused of corruption before.
Lula has maintained his innocence and denied any wrong doing on his part. He has also implied that the criminal charges are politically motivated. Lula’s lawyer has said that the law was being misused in this case. Rousseff has requested the Supreme Court to guarantee the right to defend against the charges levied against the her. She has also pointed out that evidence has not been presented by the prosecutor.
Our assessment is that this is a particularly troubling period for Brazilian political landscape. The political careers and legacies of Lula and Rousseff have effectively been tarnished. The public is also unlikely to have faith in the current leadership. In August 2017, Michel Temer, the President of Brazil, faced a vote by the Congress to impeach him. He narrowly averted the fate.