Budget maneuvers are basis of trial of Brazil's president

Budget maneuvers are basis of trial of Brazil's president

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to face her accusers in the Senate on Monday during an impeachment trial that could remove her permanently from office.

The trial is based on accusations that she illegally issued decrees last year to make government payments without the authorization of Congress. She's also accused of using unauthorized loans from state-owned banks to finance programs, and then delaying repayment.

Critics say she meant to make public finances look better than they were and say Rousseff was, at the very least, negligent. Rousseff insists the practice is not an impeachable offense and says other Brazilian presidents used similar techniques without facing punishment.

Here is a look at the allegations and how they compare to previous administrations:


DECREES: At least three decrees signed by Rousseff were irregular, according to Senate auditors, who said they were not approved by Congress. Rousseff's defense listed similar decrees since 2000 under two former presidents.


MONEY SHUFFLING: The fact-checking website Aos Fatos counted incidents involving funds from state-run bank Caixa Economica Federal. It said Rousseff used the practice vastly more often than did the two previous presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Allegations against Rousseff also include funds from state-run banks BNDES and Banco do Brasil. The case against her covers only 2015, the first year of her second term, because Brazil's constitution says a president can be impeached only for crimes in the current term. Rousseff was re-elected in 2014.


DELAYED PAYMENTS: Between 2011 and 2015, Rousseff's administration delayed payments to Caixa totaling almost $10 billion. The funds were eventually paid, but Brazil's laws say state banks should not make loans to the federal government without congressional authorization. Rousseff denies those were loans. The funds went for unemployment benefits, bonuses to public workers and subsidies for poor Brazilians. The delays stopped after a government watchdog ruled in October 2015 that the accounting mechanisms were irregular.


VICE PRESIDENT MICHEL TEMER: Rousseff's backers say the case against her could affect Temer, who is temporarily replacing the suspended leader. As acting president when Rousseff was on trips outside Brazil, he also authorized such accounting measures. Temer argues he was not responsible for the economic policies and says his signature doesn't mean any involvement in the decision to delay payments.


FORMER PRESIDENT LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA: Silva, who was Rousseff's mentor and predecessor, used similar accounting practices in September and November 2003 and in November 2006, shortly after his re-election. The amounts involved totaled $144 million. The funds were for unemployment benefits and subsidies for the poor.


FORMER PRESIDENT FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO: Now an opposition leader, Cardoso issued similar decrees four times as president to delay payments to Caixa involving unemployment benefits. The first was in September 1996 and three more came in 2002, totaling $125 million at current values.

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