The ex-president of Brazilian construction company OAS, Léo Pinheiro, testified in the Lula corruption case on Thursday. According to Pinheiro, the former Brazilian president ordered him to destroy any evidence of payments to the Worker’s Party.
Lula allegedly said: “Do you have any documentation of any meeting, anything dealt between you and João Vaccari? If so, get rid of it.” Vaccari was the former Treasurer of the Worker’s Party.
Pinheiro gave his statement to Judge Sérgio Moro who stands at the judicial command of Operation Car Wash. The entire 3-hour hearing is available for viewing on YouTube, divided into six parts. Watch the first part, in Portuguese, here.
Pinheiro himself faces accusations for the illegal acquisition of a triplex apartment in the beach resort town of Guarujá, off the coast of São Paulo. Lula is part of the same investigation.
The Lula Institute responded to the latest events by accusing the investigation of forcing Pinheiro’s testimony. Moreover, the entity accuses Pinheiro of testifying false information in order to lighten his own sentence.
“Léo Pinheiro’s testimony, as the press itself announced, is part of the negotiation process of a plea deal with the prosecutors of this case. They also demanded that he incriminate the ex-President, according to an article in the Folha de S. Paulo. His statement is ineligible and makes deductions about things that supposedly happened three years ago but never did. He made his statement to his own judicial advantage,” read the official press release.
Pinheiro is carrying out a sentence of 39 years in prison as of September of last year.
Palocci steps up
Perhaps Lula’s argument to his innocence would hold up if there weren’t others also stepping up to testify against him. Lula’s former Finance Minister Antônio Palocci, a person who would naturally know quite a bit about his corrupt dealings, has made it clear that he will also talk. In fact, word is Palocci has already reached out to Judge Moro about setting up a plea deal. Those who questioned whether or not the ex-minister would speak now wonder how much exactly he’ll give up about his former boss.
Financial market analysts believe that Palocci will indicate problematic negotiations with smaller banks and investment firms. For example, he may give details on the PanAmericano case, launched this week.
Whatever Palocci decides to divulge, things aren’t looking good for his former boss. Lula can’t deny every informant’s statement, nor can he claim his innocence forever.