SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, has denied claims by a Brazilian businessman underneath investigation in Brazil’s large Automobile Wash scandal that he paid $141,000 to cowl money owed incurred by her 2013 Chilean presidential marketing campaign.
Leo Pinheiro is reported to have instructed prosecutors as a part of a plea cut price that his engineering agency, OAS, paid the cash on the suggestion of the previous Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula is serving a 12-year jail sentence for taking bribes in reference to the scandal, which concerned payoffs and political kickbacks on contracts with oil firm Petrobras and different state-run corporations.
Two different Brazilian presidents have been implicated within the scandal, together with two Peruvian presidents.
On Monday, Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paolo newspaper cited messages between prosecutors engaged on Pinheiro’s case in a report that claimed he instructed them OAS paid the cash to Bachelet’s marketing campaign to make sure a consortium it was concerned in retained a contract to construct a bridge to the Chilean island of Chiloe.
On Tuesday, Bachelet, a socialist who served from 2006 to 2010 and once more from 2014 to 2018 and is the present United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, denied the claims.
“My reality is identical as all the time, I’ve by no means had hyperlinks with OAS,” she instructed Chilean TV station 24 Horas in Geneva.
She highlighted the truth that Pinheiro had failed to say his claims to inform a Chilean prosecutor investigating the potential involvement of Chilean companies or politicians within the cross-continental scandal.
She additionally pointed to the truth that the Chiloe bridge contract was awarded by the federal government of Chile’s present president, Sebastian Pinera.
Pinheiro was sentenced to 16 years in jail for his position within the scandal however launched after three years in custody final weekend after his plea cut price was ratified by Brazil’s Supreme Courtroom.
Chile’s chief prosecutor, Jorge Abbott, mentioned in an announcement on Monday that he would await formal affirmation of Pinheiro’s claims from Brazilian prosecutors earlier than taking any motion.
“We are going to proceed with our investigation to find out the veracity of this financing and to have the ability to advance any corresponding prison complaints,” he mentioned.
“Whoever is finally implicated on this testimony, nobody is above the regulation.”
Representatives for OAS, Lula and Pinheiro didn’t reply to requests for remark. Bachelet’s spokesman on the UN, Rupert Colville, mentioned she wouldn’t remark additional on the problem.
“Clearly, as this issues her political profession in Chile, it isn’t a problem for OHCHR itself to touch upon,” he mentioned.
Reporting by Aislinn Laing; extra reporting Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay and Ricardo Brito Ramos; Enhancing by Dan Grebler