Delubio Soares(L)), Jose Dirceu (C) and PT Jose Genoino (R).
11 October 2012. Jose Dirceu was found guilty by six of the ten judges in connection with a vote-buying scheme that ran from 2002 to 2005 in Congress during former president Lula’s first term, a court spokesman said. He was the right hand man of the former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The head of Lula’s ruling Workers Party (PT) at the time, former guerrilla Jose Genoino, and its treasurer, Delubio Soares, were also convicted for corruption. The three officials are among 37 former ministers, lawmakers, businessmen and bankers on trial before the Supreme Court over the scandal known as “Mensalao” (big monthly payments). The justices said the trio distributed money to lawmakers to “illegally secure the support of other political parties to form a ruling government coalition.” Dirceu, 66, is viewed as the main culprit in the high-profile trial that threatens to tarnish the legacy of the popular Lula. Although the 66-year-old founder and leader of the leftist PT was cleared, the scandal nearly cost Lula his re-election in 2006. Lula was eventually re-elected in 2006 and handed over power to his protégée and fellow PT member Dilma Rousseff at the end of his second four-year term. Since the trial opened in early August, 22 of the 37 defendants have already been found guilty. Supreme Court Justice Joaquim Barbosa said that evidence showed Dirceu “masterminded the operations” of Soares the treasurer and businessman Marcos Valerio. Prosecutors alleged the bribe money was skimmed from advertising budgets of state-owned companies through a company owned by Valerio, also among the accused. Dirceu was forced to resign in 2005 when the graft scandal came to light. But Lula’s top lieutenant has always denied paying bribes to lawmakers. None of the accused has been arrested, and none of them was in court. It may take several more weeks for the sentences to be announced.