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Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

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Scott Jagow: This week, the Supreme Court in Brazil is handling one of the nation's biggest corruption scandals ever. Forty ruling party officials and opposition lawmakers have been implicated in a huge cash-for-votes alliance. Dan Grech reports from our Americas Desk at WLRN.


Dan Grech: In Brazil, the 3-year-old scandal's known as "mensalao," meaning fat monthly payments.

Politicians are accused of taking tens of millions of dollars under the table. In exchange, they supported the policies of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The scandal led to dozens of resignations and nearly derailed President Lula's reelection bid.Now, it's made its way into the country's highest court.

Riordan Roett is with the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. He says he once believed exposing and prosecuting corruption in Latin America would help root it out.

Not anymore.

Riordan Roett: There is such prevalent and widespread corruption in Brazil, that it's very difficult to believe that this particular judicial process is really going to clean up the mercenary habits of the members of the Brazilian political elite.

President Lula has weathered so many scandals he's been nicknamed the Teflon President.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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