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José Serra, Currently Minister of Foreign Relations, Received R$23 Million Off-the-Books, Claims Odebrecht

08/08/2016 - 12h40

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BELA MEGALE
SPECIAL ENVOY TO CURITIBA

Executives from Odebrecht told investigators from the Lava Jato (Car Wash) operation that the presidential campaign of José Serra (PSDB-SP) in 2010 received R$ 23 million (US$ 7 million) from the construction company off-the-books. Serra is currently Minister of Foreign Relations.

Adjusted for inflation during the period, this amount is equivalent to R$34.5 million today (US$ 10.8 million).

The affirmation was made to prosecutors from the operation task force and the PGR (Federal Prosecutor General's Office) last week by employees of the company who are attempting to reach a plea-bargain agreement, previously reported by columnist Mônica Bergamo.

During the meeting, held at Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba, the executives said that part of the money was delivered in Brazil while another part was paid through bank deposits made into accounts outside of Brazil.

The conversations are part of interviews in which potential Lava Jato plea-bargainers collaborate information presented by lawyers in their plea-bargaining negotiations.
No agreement, however, has yet been signed.

In order to prove that off-the-book payments were made, Odebrecht will present bank statements of deposits made outside of the country which were destined for the presidential campaign of the candidate at the time.

According to information from the TSE (Supreme Electoral Tribunal) the construction company donated R$ 2.4 million (US$ 750,000) to the National Finance Committee for Brazilian President Serra (R$ 3.6 million -US$ 1.1 million- adjusted for inflation).

Based on this, the PMDB campaign would have received R$ 25.4 million (US$ 7.9 million) from the Bahia group alone, with R$ 23 million (US$ 7 milllion) of that amount being off-the-books.

According to testimony from executives of Odebrecht, the negotiation for the transfers to the Serra campaign was conducted by the national leadership of the PSDB at the time, which afterwards redistributed part of the money among other candidates.

THE OTHER SIDE

The Foreign Relations Minister, José Serra (PSDB-SP), stated, by way of a written communication sent by his press attaché, that during the Presidential race in 2010 his campaign conducted itself in accordance with the electoral legislation in vigor.

The PSDB leader also said that the finances for his campaign for the Planalto Palace were the responsibility of the PSDB party.

And still by written notification, José Serra reiterated that no one was authorized to speak on his behalf.

According to PSDB campaign documents filed with the TSE, the National Finance Committee for President of the Republic declared that it had received R$ 2.4 million (US$ 750,000) from the construction company in the 2010 race.

Regarding supposed payments of bribes made to PSDB intermediaries while he was governor of the State of São Paulo between 2007 and 2010, which were related to the construction of the southern stretch of the Rodoanel, the Minister said that he considered the "accusation to be absurd".

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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