Chile’s ex-president Bachelet denies links to Brazil’s Car Wash scandal


SANTIAGO – Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s ex-president and now the UN human rights chief, has denied allegations by a Brazilian businessman under investigation in Brazil’s massive Car Wash scandal that he paid $141,000 to cover debts incurred by her 2013 presidential campaign.

Bachelet, a socialist who served from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, denied the claims that were reported on Monday by the Brazilian newspaper Folho de Sao Paolo. It said Leo Pinheiro told prosecutors as part of a plea bargain that his engineering firm, OAS, paid the money at the suggestion of the former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. “My truth is the same as always, I have never had links with OAS,” she told Chilean TV station 24 Horas in Geneva.

Lula is serving a 12-year prison sentence for taking bribes in connection with the scandal, which involved payoffs and political kickbacks on contracts with oil company Petrobras and other state-run companies. Cristiano Zanin Martins, Lula’s lawyer, told Reuters his client had not recommended any such payments and that the latest claims were part of a “strategy” by prosecutors to persecute Lula “politically”.

“Leo Pinheiro’s version is denied by a statement filed on Feb. 7, 2017 by his own company – OAS – which said that ‘no contracts or donations were made to former presidents of the Republic, nor for institutes or foundations linked to them’,” he said.(Reuters)…[+]