Justice in action
For the first time in their country’s recent history, Brazilians finally had a taste of seeing politicians going to jail for corruption.
Last Friday – symbolically, the same day that the Proclamation of the Republic is celebrated in Brazil – the court decreed prison for a group of 12 politicians and bankers involved in the scandal of Mensalão or ‘big monthly payment’, the vote-buying scheme in Congress that used public funds to pay bribes.
The trial of those accused of involvement in the mensalão, the scandal by which senior figures in the government of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva allegedly engaged in vote-buying in Congress, may be over. But the ruling Workers’ Party, several of whose leaders were convicted by the Supreme Court, is only now coming to terms with the question of who should pay, literally, for their crimes.
It is not often that the endless corruption scandals and political squabbles in Brasília make their way into the brokerage reports of Wall Street and Faria Lima, São Paulo’s financial district.
But in the past few weeks, the word “Mensalão” has begun appearing with more frequency in analysts’ notes.