Brazil faces new corruption scandal
Just weeks after several of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s former colleagues were given jail terms following Brazil’s biggest corruption trial, police have arrested an official closely linked to the former president for bribery and influence-peddling.
Federal police have accused Rosemary Nóvoa de Noronha of being a member of a group of officials that sold documents containing false briefs by federal agencies that allowed companies and wealthy individuals to legalise their activities or gain a business advantage.
Ms Noronha built up a close relationship with the former president when she headed his official office in the city of São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital. She was kept on by President Dilma Rousseff when she succeeded Lula in 2011.
Following her indictment Mrs Noronha quit her post. She is the latest in a long line of officials held over from the Lula presidency at his request that have been sacked or forced to quit following corruption scandals.
When police came to arrest her, Ms Noronha reportedly rang Lula’s former chief of staff, José Dirceu. But, facing almost 11 years in prison for his role in the so-called “mensalão” scandal, he told her he was unable to help.
Ms Noronha’s relationship with the former president has been the source of intense media speculation.
She reportedly received a diplomatic passport and travelled with him on 32 international trips while he was president, supposedly looking after his agenda, a function traditionally performed by the foreign ministry. She is accused of having used her influence to land one of her co-accused a directorship at Brazil’s federal water agency.