BRASILIA (TrustLaw) – Brazil’s legislature is likely to approve a new law cracking down on corporate bribery by the end of the year, though the Supreme Court convictions in the “mensalao” bribes-for-votes scandal have made it harder to rally support for the measure, a senior lawmaker said. Carlos Zarattini, chairman of a special committee set up in the Chamber of Deputies to fast track the anti-bribery bill, said the trial of top aides to former President Lula on charges of bribing lawmakers to back his legislative program was “political” in nature, and said the judges lacked sufficient proof. The court found Lula’s former chief of staff Jose Dirceu and two other top political associates guilty of paying large monthly retainers, or “mensalao,” to key members of Congress early in Lula’s 2003-2010 presidency. The court convicted 25 people who face prison sentences in a case unprecedented in a country whose judiciary has traditionally been lenient towards corrupt politicians.
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