Leaked messages appear to show conspiracy against former Brazilian president Lula

World Today

An explosive news report published by an online new organization alleges the jailing of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was politically motivated. CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco has the details.

Was it a conspiracy that kept former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva” from running again in last year’s presidential race?

The answer would be “yes”, according to the “The Intercept, Brazil,” an online investigative journal, which published the contents of private text messages between presiding Judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors in the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history: “Operation Car Wash.”

Dozens of high-profile politicians and officials from almost all political parties were caught in the judicial net, but Lula da Silva was the biggest fish of them all.

Judge Moro, who is now the Minister of Justice, became a national hero for his perceived role in rooting out corruption. Now, there is evidence the process against the former president was rigged and that Moro is implicated.

“A judge can’t talk to the prosecution. He can’t guide them because, later, he is going to pass judgment on the case. What he did is illegal. So these conversations create a lot of questions about the process that sent former President Lula to prison.” said Folha de Sao Paulo’s political reporter, Catia Seabra.

A number of texts published by The Intercept allegedly show bias against Lula’s Workers party, calling members “revolting” and “mobsters”.

According to executive director of The Intercept, texts show that the “Car Wash investigators had a real political interest in what was happening in Brazil and that is not what you’d expect from prosecutors who should be impartial.”

Justice Minister Moro denies any wrongdoing. “I didn’t see anything important in these messages,” he said. “What happened here was a criminal invasion of the prosecutors’ cell phones. In my opinion, that’s a very serious violation.”

But the Brazilian bar association is recommending that Moro step down. According to Marcus Vinicius Cordeiro, the Brazilian Bar Association Communications director, “He is in charge of the Federal police. He will have the power to manipulate the inquiry, to open investigations or close them, and to control the flow of information and the message, so it is entirely inappropriate that he continues as the Minister.”

Key to President Jair Bolsonaro’s election campaign was his promise for zero corruption tolerance, but so far he has said nothing about the scandal. His aides have recommended that he wait for more revelations. The Intercept, meanwhile, says that what it published is just the tip of the iceberg.