Brasilia, Sep 18 (IANS/EFE) Members of Congress traded votes for money during the first two years of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's 2003-11 tenure as president, one of the judges in Brazil's corruption "trial of the century" said Monday.
Supreme Court Judge Joaquim Barbosa gave a detailed account of the cash that Lula's Workers Party, or PT, paid to lawmakers of four other parties to secure passage of the administration's legislative agenda.
Backed by documents submitted by prosecutors, Barbosa said "there's no doubt that votes were bought" and that the money was paid "before, during and after" the bills were voted on in the lower house.
Among the cases in question, the judge cited a controversial tax reform passed in September 2003 and a pension overhaul voted on that same year.
"There's plenty of documentation and there's no doubt that a scheme existed for buying votes," Barbosa said.
Former presidential chief of staff Jose Dirceu and 37 other people, including two former Cabinet ministers and erstwhile congresspersons, are facing charges that range from money laundering and tax evasion to fraud and criminal conspiracy.