The ex-minister of Finance and Civil House Antonio Palocci said, in testimony to the Federal Court in the Federal District, that the son of former president Lula da Silva, Luiz Claudio, received funds from a lobbyist involved in the elaboration of Provisional Measure 471/2009, an object of criminal action in the scope of Operation Zelotes.
According to Palocci, Lula’s son would have sought him at his consulting firm in São Paulo between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 to help him obtain at least R $ 2 million from companies to make one of his projects viable. But Lula himself, according to the former minister, would have informed him that he had already obtained the money from lobbyist Mauro Marcondes.
According to the complaint filed by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, Marcondes served with the Lula government in support of the elaboration of MP 471, in which tax benefits were granted to vehicle assemblers, who in return would have paid bribes to have the text published.
Palocci said he sought Lula in 2014, about a month after meeting with Luiz Claudio, to discuss the request of the former president’s son. The meeting would have taken place at the Lula Institute, in Sao Paulo.
“I went to talk to former president Lula because I wanted to see him and authorized me to do this [to get resources for his son]. That’s when the former president said he did not have to attend Luiz Claudio because “I already solved this problem with Mauro Marcondes,” Palocci said.
In 2013, the tax benefits were renewed by the then president Dilma Rousseff by new MP. According to Palocci, former president Lula confirmed that he had a negotiation with the automakers so that both MPs, of 2009 and 2013, were approved. The negotiations would have been carried out with the intermediation of Marcondes, who, according to the former finance minister, would have “unrestricted” access to Lula.
Palocci said, however, that he could not confirm the transfer of resources from the automakers to Luiz Claudio, who is not a defendant in the criminal action that deals with the proceedings of MP 471/2009. The former minister also said he had no direct knowledge of Marcondes’ performance in drafting the provisional measure. And that he learned of the involvement of the lobbyist only through Lula.
Through a video conference from Sao Paulo, the former Minister of Finance gave testimony as a witness to the indictment to the substitute judge Ricardo Soares Leite, from the 10th Federal Court of Brasília, in one of four criminal actions to which Lula responds in the Federal Court of Federal District. In addition to the former president, the defendants are Mauro Marcondes, Lula’s former chief of staff, Gilberto Carvalho, and four others.
Right at the beginning of the hearing, lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins, who represents Lula, tried to suspend Palocci’s testimony, claiming that he signed a prize-giving agreement regarding other actions and to which the defense did not have access, thus being a witness interested in incriminating Lula in exchange for legal benefits granted by the Public Prosecution Service.
Zanin’s request was reinforced by all other defendants’ defenses, but Judge Soares Leite did not grant it. The prosecutor responsible for the case, Fernando Paiva, argued that Operation Zelotes is not involved with the Palocci accusation, which was negotiated with the Federal Police of Paraná, within the scope of Lava Jato.
Palocci was Finance Minister between January of 2003 and March of 2006, in the Lula government, and of the Civil House between January and July of 2011, in the government Dilma.
By way of a note, Lula’s defense said that Palocci took advantage of his testimony “to unusually taking the initiative to make statements without any relation to the process, with the clear objective of attacking the honor and reputation of the ex-President Lula and his son Luiz Claudio. ”
In the text, attorney Cristiano Zanin adds that in his award agreement with Lava Jato, Palocci spoke of alleged negotiations on provisional measures and that their agreed legal and patrimonial benefits depend on the confirmation of such narratives.
“Palocci, therefore, is not a witness – who speaks with an exemption – but someone interested in maintaining the relevant advantages that he obtained in his donation,” said Lula’s lawyer. He added that the former minister acknowledged there was no other witness who could confirm the content of his meetings with Lula and Luiz Claudio.