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Instituto Lula


Responses to Charges made by the "Lava Jato" operation relating to President Lula

Mar 14, 2016 11:04 AM

The Lava Jato operation has been trying (without grounds or evidence) to connect former President Lula to the investigations of corruption and misappropriation of money from Petrobras. Below is a systematic description of the charges, followed by answers and explanations. Although these allegations are repeated constantly in all the major media outlets, it is worth remembering that these are not formal charges, i.e. there is currently, no investigation that has been started with regard to these alleged crimes, precisely because there is no consistent evidence to support the allegations.

Funding and Financing of the Lula Institute

The allegation: That the Lula Institute received money from contractors that are being investigated as part of operation  Lava Jato. The money is alleged to have come from private contractors which in turn is said to have originated with misappropriated funds from Petrobrás.

Answer: The financing received by the Lula Institute is similar to the financing of Institutions of other former Presidents in Brazil and in other countries. The Institute has never received contributions from public companies, unlike, for example, the FHC Foundation.

Individuals and companies have made legal donations to the Institute that have been reported to the proper authorities after the Lula Institute was created in August 2011, and not before, as was the case, for example, with the institution linked to former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, which received donations while the President was still serving his mandate.

Use of Funds by the Lula Institute

Charge: The Lula Institute made payments to companies owned or partially owned by Lula's sons (the G4 and Flexbr companies), for services which, according to the charges, were not in fact rendered.

Answer: The funds from the Lula Institute are used for specific purposes — such as projects and activities to promote Latin American integration, for cooperation with African countries and the fight against hunger in the world, in addition to sponsoring discussions, conferences, seminars, research and documentation activities on democracy and social achievements in Brazil, and the preservation of the archives of former President Lula, pursuant to the law.

The most diverse selection of individuals and companies were regularly contracted, paid or provided services to and for the Institute. The company, G4, cited by the Federal Prosecutors in  Operation Lava Jato, is responsible for the maintenance of the Institute’s website and worked on the “Brazil that Changes” and “Democracy Memorial” projects and has been providing services to the Institute since 2011, i.e. for 5 years, and works on projects that lie strictly within its technical capacity. There are no improper payments of funds. But there have been, indeed, irresponsibly disclosed conclusions made by the public prosecutors before any serious investigative procedures have taken place.

The Institute has released a report with all projects carried out by G4 and their respective costs: (Portuguese only) http://www.institutolula.org/conheca-o-trabalho-da-g4-brasil-com-o-instituto-lula 

Lectures, Seminars and Conference Meetings

Charge: Using lecture fees, contractors paid money to President Lula. These funds originated from money paid by Petrobras.

Answer: The LILS Lectures and Events Company LTDA. was established in 2011, with former President Lula and Paulo Okamotto as partners, to manage, within the law, the activities of former President Lula as a speaker. Once again, this is similar to what other former Presidents of Brazil and of other countries do, as well as other publically recognized personalities: artists, scientists, sportsmen, writers, journalists, etc.

Since leaving the Government, Lula has given72 lectures for 40 different companies in Brazil and abroad, from the most widely diverse sectors; companies like Microsoft, Bank of America, Nestlé, Iberdrola, INFOGLOBO (the publishers of the Marinho Family newspapers) and large other companies, some of which have been investigated as part of Operation Lava Jato.

In August last year, the Lula Institute published a list of all the companies that hired the former President to give lectures. (A complete list is available here: {F2} http://www.institutolula.org/as-palestras-de-lula-a-violacao-de-sigilo-bancario-do-ex-presidente-foi-um-ato-criminoso{F3}). All payments received were duely reported to the competent authorities and taxes paid.

Some of the companies under investigation also paid for lectures by other former Presidents of Brazil. They are all heavy advertisers in the media and finance journalism courses. Once again, the irresponsible dissemination of conclusions in reference to former President Lula, occured before any serious investigation was completed. In the same way it would also be possible but it would  be inccorrect to assume that other former Presidents or the big Brazilian media conglomerates received, via these means, money stolen from Petrobras.

Properties - Real Estate in Guarujá and in Atibaia

Charge: That  Lula is the real and true owner of a country home in Atibaia which appears to be owned by third parties. The construction work on the country home was paid for by the OAS and Odebrecht contracting companies, investigated in the Lava Jato operation.

Answer: the country home was purchased in 2010 by Jacob Bittar, friend of former president Lula's and one of the founders of PT. Before the formal registration of this transaction, Jacob Bittar fell ill and relinquished the purchase to his son, Ferdinand Bittar, who cpompleted the purchase with his partner, Jonas Suassuna. All funds used for the purchase of property were those of the Bittar family and Jonas Suassuna and were paid by Certified Check. It is common knowledge that the home does not belong to President Lula, and that he uses the house provided his family friend Bittar. The construction work on the property was paid for by José Carlos Bumlai, a cattleman and family friend Bittar and former president Lula.

Charge:  The OAS paid the moving expenses for President Lula and was responsible for paying for the storage of part of his belongings.

Answer:  The report, attributed by GloboNews to the Federal Police of Paraná, said that the costs of moving former President Lula from Brasilia to Sao Paulo were paid by the company, and that the goods delivered to the apartment in Guaruja were not the property of,  and never belonged to former President Lula, is absolutely false. The costs of moving, as with all former Presidents, were provided by the Presidency of the Republic. Most of the belongings were transported by a furniture moving company, a part to the Lula apartment in São Bernardo and a part to the Santa Barbara country home, with consent of the owners.

Charge:  The investigation alleges that President Lula is the current owner of a triplex apartment, in the coastal town of Guaruja, that was owned by the OAS contracting company , currently being investigated as part of operation Lava Jato. OAS paid for the renovations in this apartment owned by former President Lula.

Answer: The Lula Institute released a detailed report, carefully documented, refuting this accusation. In summary, the facts are:

-  In 2005, the former first lady Marisa Letícia acquired a share in a partially completed real estate development belonging to the Cooperativa Habitacional dos Bancarios (the Bank Workers Housing Cooperative  - Bancoop) in Gurujá.

- Between 2005 and 2009, Marisa Letícia made a R$ 20,000 down payment and paid monthly installments to Bancoop. During that time, Bancoop became involved in a financial crisis and transferred several of its projects to the developers, among whom, was OAS.

-  When the project was taken over by OAS, Marisa Letícia no longer received receipts of payment from Bancoop and did not assume a new contract with the new developer.

-  Even without their having assumed a new contract with OAS, the developer reserved for the family the right to request at any time the original participation share in Bancoop and the project.

-  In the condition of spouse in community property, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva regularly declared the share of the project acquired by his wife Marisa Leticia, as well as the amounts of the accumulated payment each year to the Federal Tax Authorities (the Receita Federal). The share in the project also appears in the Declaration of Assets the President Lula filed as candidate for re-election, registered with the TSE in 2006, which is a public document and was reported in the press.

-  Between 2014 and 2015, President Lula and Marisa Letícia, visited, along with the then President of the developer OAS, Leo pine, a unit available for sale in the condominium apartment complex. As an unsold unit, the apartment was (and is) registered in the name of OAS Empreendimentos S.A.

It was the only occasion in which the former president visited the apartment. Marisa Letícia and their son Fábio Luís Lula da Silva did return to the apartment when it was in construction. But at no time did former president Lula or his family members use the apartment for any purpose.

- During this period, in addition to clarifying that Marisa Letícia owned only a share in the Bancoop project, the Press Office of the Lula Institute consistently told reporters that the family was in the process of deciding whether or not it would buy the property.

- Further in 2015, President Lula filed a lawsuit against the newspaper O Globo for making false statements (http://www.institutolula.org/lula-entra-com-acao-contra-o-globo-por-conta-de-mentiras-sobre-triplex-no-guaruja )

-  In November of last year, the family of former President Lula decided not to buy an apartment in the building and asked Bancoop to refund the money applied to the purchase of the share of the project, under the same conditions available to all members who did not have a contract with OAS in 2009.

The full article is available in Portuguese only, at: http://www.institutolula.org/documentos-do-guaruja-desmontando-a-farsa