As soon as she was re-elected, President Dilma Rousseff promised that those found responsible in the Petrobras corruption scandal would not go unpunished. She declared that "no stone will be left unturned" in the investigation.
During the 2014 election campaign, Rousseff praised the work of the Federal Police, which has full autonomy in its investigations. "Swept under the carpet, corruption will stay hidden, until it is investigated," stressed the president. "We always give extreme freedom to the Federal Police in all their investigations."
This freedom, once celebrated by the executive power, is currently tormenting the Labor Party.
After nearly two years of Operation Car Wash, which is an investigation into corruption at the state-run oil company Petrobras, the Federal Police raided former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's home on Friday, March 4. The raid happened only a day after Senator Delcidio Amaral released a statement to the prosecutors tying Rousseff and Lula to the Petrobras scandal.
The public prosecutors have said that Lula played a major role in the Petrobras scandal.
"Ex-president Lula, besides being party leader, was the one ultimately responsible for the decision on who would be the directors at Petrobras and was one of the main beneficiaries of these crimes. There is evidence that the crimes enriched him and financed electoral campaigns and the treasury of his political group," the prosecutors said in a statement.
As Dilma promised a year and a half ago, she is leaving no stone unturned!
The Brazilian people have many questions regarding Lula's involvement in the Petrobras corruption case.
- Did the former president know about this scheme? He had previously denied any involvement in another scandal -- the Mensalão. And what about the Petrolao scandal? According to Delcidio, Lula knew about that one.
- What are the origins of the R$ 30 million that fueled the Lula-owned LILS Palestras and the Lula Institute? Did part of the amount, which was paid by contractors currently under investigation by Operation Car Wash, come from the Petrobras coffers?
- Why does the former president insist that the small farm of Atibaia is not his family's, if he has visited the location 111 times since 2012, and he stores several of his belongings there, along with paddle boats named after his grandchildren?
- Why did Odebrecht, a construction company involved in the scandal, bankroll R$ 700,000 in renovations at the small farm that Lula denies belonging to him?
- Is the triplex apartment in the Solaris Condo in Guaruja, on the Sao Paulo coast owned by Lula or by the contractor, OAS? Despite the former president's denial, why did the janitor, the building's manager, the doorman and the company's engineers tell the Federal Police that Lula's family was always in apartment 164-A?
- Where did the R$ 1 million, which paid the OAS for the renovations and luxury furniture for the rooms and kitchen of 164-A, come from? Are the business contracts with Petrobas the source of all this money?
- Did Lula know that his friend, a rancher by the name of Jose Carlos Bumlai, arrested by the Federal Police last year, said that the Labor Party's debts from the re-election campaign were paid off with money from Petrobras?
- What's Lula's answer to Delcidio's claims, which accused the Labor Party member of bribing Petrobas executive Nestor Cervero, who is also in jail, to cover up Bumlai's story?
The former president needs to answer all these questions, among others from the Federal Police, prosecutors, his constituents, and from all Brazilians.
If Lula fails to answer these questions, it will be extremely difficult for Brazil to believe that, as the former president had previously claimed, there is "not a more honest living soul in the country."
This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.