A former BrasÀlia (capital of Brazil) deputy governor revealed it was known that members of his Progressive Party, belonging to the ruling coalition of President Lula da Silva were receiving “financial aid”, but added he ignored the names.
Benedito Domingos thus confirmed the serious claims of Deputy Roberto Jefferson that have rocked the Brazilian political system after accusing Mr. Lula da Silva’s Workers Party of distributing bribes in exchange for Congressional votes and support.
“There were insistent rumors in the party about the financial aid to Congress members. I didn’t know they called them “fees” or that it was the Workers Party who was the paymaster”, said Mr. Domingos, PP president in Brasília.
According to Mr. Jefferson the bribes ring also included members of the PP and the Liberal Party, belonging to vice president José Alencar.
Mr. Domingos revealed that the bribes in the Lower House were distributed by Deputy José Jatene, PP congressional leader and his Brasília apartment was known as “bed and breakfast” because of the big turnover of Congress members.
Furthermore he said that a colleague of his and former PP president, Pedro Henry, offered him money to leave the chair of the party in the Federal District.
“It was a big lump of money, but I couldn’t accept it; I felt humiliated”, stressed Mr. Domingos, one of the few political leaders that so far has explicitly supported the claims of Deputy Jefferson before the Congressional Ethics Committee.
Murilo Perillo, governor of Goiás said he had warned President Lula da Silva quite some time ago about the bribes system which allegedly wass masterminded and operated by the top advisors of the current administration.
Meantime in São Paulo bankers and businessmen insisted that the political turmoil will not have an effect on the economy or financial markets.
“Brazil is above the crisis. The soundness of the economy is spectacular and foreign investors’ confidence is overwhelming”, stated Márcio Cypriano, president of the Brazilian Banks Federation.
“In the past the US dollar would have ballooned, the stock exchange would have collapsed, on the contrary they reacted positively when all the allegations were made public in Congress”, said Mr. Cypriano.
“Financial institutions are not concerned with the political crisis, but… naturally Congress must find a way out to the situation and investigate all wrongdoing claims”.
Armando Monteiro Neto, head of the Brazilian Industry Confederation, also downplayed any effects on the economy.
“Brazil will overcome the crisis as it has done in other occasions. The market is a good indicator; Brazilian businessmen have developed a “technology” that allows them to live with crisis and instability”, underlined Monteiro Neto.
Sao Paulo’s Industries center president Claudio Vaz admitted that the hypothesis of a paralyzed economy because of the political crisis “is possible, but there are no indications”.
Meantime, President Lula da Silva announced during a business forum several tax reductions targeted to promote domestic production and exports.
The reductions and fiscal incentives are earmarked mainly to the construction industry, computers and wine making, and will cost the Treasury an estimated 600 million US dollars this year, said Finance Minister Antonio Palocci.
“This agenda will help convert Brazilian informality into a formal and stronger economy,” highlighted Lula.
Mercopress – www.mercopress.com
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