Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defended, Thursday, August 25, the Ministers of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, and of Finance, Antonio Palocci.
According to the President, the political crisis took everyone by surprise, but it is a serious matter when people attempt to involve someone “of the stature” of the Minister of Justice in “accusations made by a gangster who has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.”
Lula was referring to charges leveled by the black market currency dealer, Antonio Oliveira Claramunt, aka “Little Tony of Barcelona.”
Lula also censured the São Paulo Public Defense Ministry prosecutors who disclosed information about the testimony of one of Palocci’s ex-aides, Rogério Buratti, before he had concluded his statement.
Buratti accused the Minister of Finance of receiving monthly kickbacks of US$ 20.400 (R$ 50,000) from the Leão & Leão company, responsible for trash collection in Ribeirão Preto, at the time that Palocci was mayor of the city, which is located in the interior of São Paulo.
According to Lula, that’s “what was behind the charges against Minister Palocci, pure and simply, without concluding an investigation. It was that kind of fuss (‘carnaval’), jeopardizing all the work we did to ensure that the Brazilian economy would not run any risk on account of the crisis,” Lula stressed at a meeting of the Economic and Social Development Council.
The President said that he ordered the Cabinet to keep on working, regardless of the crisis.
“The projects are ready to go, so it does not behoove any minister to wait and see what is going to happen in the National Congress instead of working, since afterwards the nation is going to look at what was accomplished,” he affirmed.