Rouss­eff to be in­ves­ti­gated for al­leged funds mis­use

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff’s cam­paign will be in­ves­ti­gated for al­leged use of funds skimmed from the vast Petro­bras cor­rup­tion scheme, of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day, in a twist that could po­ten­tially end her term early.

The op­po­si­tion So­cial Demo­cratic Party of Brazil ( PSDB) has filed five com­plaints, in­clud­ing one now ac­cepted by a fed­eral elec­toral body.

Op­po­si­tion l aw­mak­ers — whose can­di­date lost in a tight race against Rouss­eff in 2014 — say Rouss­eff of the Work­ers Party and run­ning mate Michel Te­mer of the cen­trist PMDB funded their cam­paign with do­na­tions from com­pa­nies in­volved in the cor­rup­tion scheme that has rocked Brazil.

The elec­toral body in a 5-2 vote over­turned an ear­lier rul­ing by Judge Maria Thereza de As­sis Moura, who in Fe­bru­ary had said the ev­i­dence was in­suf­fi­cient to move for­ward.

The com­plaint specif­i­cally al­leges that Rouss­eff and Te­mer en­gaged in “abuse of eco­nomic power, and of fraud, by fund­ing cam­paign ex­penses ... with do­na­tions from Petro­bras con­trac­tor com­pa­nies as part of the bribes dis­tri­bu­tion.”

It is the first time the elec­toral body has opened such pro­ceed­ings against a sit­ting pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to the Su­pe­rior Elec­toral Court.

In ad­di­tion, Rouss­eff is al­leged to have used public fi­nan­cial group re­sources to fund so­cial pro­grams for the poor, which is illegal in Brazil.

Some of Brazil’s most se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and pri­vate sec­tor ex­ec­u­tives, as well as a grow­ing list of po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, are among the dozens al­ready tainted by the grow­ing scan­dal.

Rouss­eff chaired Petro­bras dur­ing the main pe­riod of the kick­back and po­lit­i­cal pay­off scan­dal that cost the com­pany more than US$2 bil­lion in 2014.

Now, Brazil’s em­bat­tled first woman pres­i­dent has seen her ap­proval rat­ing slide to around 10 per­cent, with the econ­omy con­tract­ing and many crit­ics call­ing for her im­peach­ment.

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