It was adman versus adman in Brazil’s Post Office CPI investigating corruption in the Lula administration. The duel was not face to face, but it was certainly a duel.
Adman Duda Mendonça, one of Brazil’s best known admen and the marketing genius responsible for running Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s successful 2002 presidential campaign, made a surprise appearance before the commission.
He joined a business partner of his, Zilmar Fernandes, who was scheduled to testify. Mendonça and Fernandes testified together and proceeded to dismount the story told by the other adman, Marcos Valério.
According to Mendonça, Valério paid him part of his fees in cash and asked his partner, Zilmar Fernandes, to open an account in the Bahamas in order to receive the rest. The rub is that this is, at the very least, a fiscal and financial crime.
Mendonça declared that in paying off his agency’s debts he was under the impression that Valério was following orders from the PT treasurer, Delúbio Soares.
According to Zilmar Fernandes, in March 2003, over a year after Lula took office, Valério told her that the PT was having difficulties paying off its debt with the Mendonça ad agency and asked her to open an account abroad for the agency.
Mendonça says he went to the BankBoston and opened a company in the Bahamas, called Dusseldorf. According to Mendonça and Fernandes, a total of US$ 4.26 million was deposited in that account over a period of time through the Banco Rural Europa, Florida Bank, Banco de Israel and a financial institution known as Trade Link.
Mendonça declared: “Maybe I committed a fiscal crime, but this is not an error of character.” He showed the commission faxes proving that money had been transferred to his Bahamas account.