Antonio Palocci

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Antonio Palocci
Antonio Palocci
Chief of Staff of the Presidency
In office
1 January 2011 – 7 June 2011
President Dilma Rousseff
Preceded by Erenice Guerra
Succeeded by Gleisi Hoffmann
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
1 February 2007 – 31 December 2010
Constituency São Paulo
In office
1 February 1999 – 31 March 2000
Constituency São Paulo
Minister of Finance
In office
1 January 2003 – 27 March 2006
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by Pedro Malan
Succeeded by Guido Mantega
Mayor of Ribeirão Preto
In office
1 January 2001 – 31 March 2002
Preceded by Luiz Roberto Jábali
Succeeded by Gilberto Maggioni
In office
1 January 1993 – 31 March 1996
Preceded by Welson Gasparini
Succeeded by Luiz Roberto Jábali
Member of a Legislative Assembly
In office
1 February 1990 – 31 March 1992
Constituency São Paulo
Personal details
Born Antonio Palocci Filho
(1960-10-04) 4 October 1960 (age 55)
Cosmorama, São Paulo, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Political party Workers' Party
Residence Brasília, Brazil
Profession Physician, politician

Antonio Palocci Filho (born 4 October 1960) is a Brazilian physician and politician, and former Chief of Staff of Brazil under President Dilma Rousseff. He was the Finance minister of the Brazilian federal government from January 1, 2003 until March 27, 2006 (when he resigned in the wake of reports of conduct unbecoming of his office), during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He resigned from his office as Chief of Staff on June 7, 2011.

Early life and career[edit]

Raised in Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo. His father was an artist and teacher. During his youth as a medical student at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto Medical School, Palocci took part in several radical movements. He was one of the founders of the Workers' Party and was its President in São Paulo from 1997 to 1998.

After graduation, Palocci worked for five years as a civil servant at the Ribeirão Preto regionel office of the São Paulo State Public Health Secretary. He inaugurated the Workers’ Health Ward and was the director of the regional office of the Public Health Service.

When Palocci was 28 years old, after occupying positions in various labour unions, including the CUT (linked to the Workers Party) he ran for election as city councilman (vereador) for the first time. Since then, Palocci has never lost an election. However, he completed only one of his terms (as mayor of Ribeirão Preto from 1993 to 1996).

Political career[edit]

Palocci was elected councilman in Ribeirão Preto in 1988. He did not finish his term because he stepped down to run in the election for the office of state deputy (which he won). In 1992, he resigned his term as deputy to assume the role of mayor of Ribeirão Preto, after winning the local election. It is during his administrations as mayor that Palocci is alleged to have led a major slush fund operation (see below) for the Workers' Party, a scheme denounced by one of his former secretaries, Rogério Buratti.

In 1995, he received the UNICEF’s Child and Peace prize for his work for the rights of infants and adolescents. In 1996, he received the Juscelino Kubitscheck Award from SEBRAE-SP, the São Paulo chapter of the Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas (Brazilian Service for Assistance to Small Businesses), for being the mayor of the São Paulo state city who offered the best support to small business. In 2002, he received the Mário Covas Award from SEBRAE again for his work on behalf of local small businesses.

Palocci was elected federal deputy in 1998. In 2000, he resigned his office so that he could run again in the mayoral election in Ribeirão Preto. He won the election, and thus was mayor of Ribeirão Preto again from 2001 to 2002. He resigned in 2002 so he could help Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's campaign for the Brazilian presidency. In 2003, when Lula was elected, Palocci officially resigned as the mayor of Ribeirão Preto and was nominated the Finance Minister of Brazil and became a key figure in the new government.

Along with former minister José Dirceu (who resigned and subsequently lost his political rights for involvement with the Mensalão scandal), Palocci was considered one of the most influential and strong ministers of Lula’s government.

On January 1, 2011, Palocci was appointed by President Dilma Rousseff as her Chief of Staff.

Mayoral Corruption allegations[edit]

In 2005, Antonio Palocci was also involved in the Mensalão scandal, after being accused by Rogério Buratti, his former secretary in the Ribeirão Preto administration.

According to Buratti, between 2001 and 2004, Palocci received a R$50,000 monthly payment from Leão & Leão, a garbage collection company. Investigations are still underway.

Palocci, however, denied this and accused the prosecutors of leaking the preliminary results of an ongoing investigation.

Ministerial abuse of power[edit]

See also: Abuse of power

A new scandal began to unfold in 2006 after a Parliamentary Inquiry heard two witnesses who claimed that the minister had been to a manor house in Brasília which is suspected of functioning as a hub for fraudulent operations within the government, with the participation of some of his closest aids. Palocci had previously claimed he had never been at the house. Some Congressmen said at the time that he could face criminal charges for lying to a Parliamentary Committee.

The main witness in the case is Francenildo Costa, who was then the groundskeeper of the property. He said the minister had visited the house "on at least ten, twenty occasions" and said he could clearly recognize Palocci as the man he had seen in the meetings of senior PT members and governmental officials at the house.

A few days after Francenildo's deposition, his bank statement (from government-run Caixa Econômica Federal) were suddenly and mysteriously leaked to the press. It seemed to indicate that the groundskeeper had a balance of R$ 38,860 (about US$ 18,000.00) in his account, which would be incompatible with his income. This was immediately linked by Congressmen to Francenildo's motivations for contradicting the Minister, apparently in an attempt to tarnish his credibility as a witness - although, in fact, he had been the second witness to contradict Palocci. The groundskeeper justified the figures by claiming that the money had been deposited by his alleged biological father, a relatively well-off businessman from the state of Piauí, in order to prevent a legal dispute over paternity. The alleged father confirmed he had deposited the money.

With this prompt explanation generally accepted, the focus of attention turned to the fact that the bank statement had been illegally revealed, in breach of Francenildo's fiscal privacy. The opposition and a great part of the media compared the illegal revelation of Francenildo's bank statement to state-orchestrated harassment. The Federal police began an investigation on the case, which soon spiralled into yet another scandal in the Lula administration: a series of officials and directors at the Caixa Econômica Federal (a state bank) confessed to having violated Francenildo's account's confidentiality following superior orders. The chain of command, police found, went up as far as the Ministry of Finance, and the Bank chairman said that he handed the details of the groundskeeper's account to Palocci personally. The Minister denied this, but abruptly resigned on March 27, 2006, being immediately replaced by economist Guido Mantega. [1]

Government offices
Preceded by
Erenice Guerra
Chief of Staff of Brazil
Succeeded by
Gleisi Hoffmann