Rousseff Says Veja Practices ‘Electoral Terrorism’ in Brazil

President Dilma Rousseff said Brazil’s most-read weekly magazine, Veja, is carrying out “electoral terrorism” in an effort to hurt her campaign as she pulls ahead in most polls.

Veja reported yesterday on its cover that Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were aware of an alleged scheme to funnel kickbacks from Petroleo Brasileiro SA to politicians. The report cites testimony from Alberto Youseff, who was arrested on accusation of laundering money from Petrobras, to the Federal Police.

“Veja committed this atrocity against me and against president Lula without presenting the smallest amount of proof,” Rousseff said in a TV campaign ad broadcast nationally today. “It is more than clear the spiteful intention of Veja to interfere in a dishonest and unfair way in the election results.”

Rousseff took the lead against opposition candidate Aecio Neves for the first time since the first round in Datafolha and Ibope polls published yesterday. A Sensus poll shows Neves ahead. Sensus also conducts surveys for Neves’s campaign.

“I can’t remain silent in the face of this act of electoral terrorism carried out by Veja magazine,” Rousseff said.

It would have been “reckless” to have delayed the publication until after the election given the relevance of the information, Veja said on its website.

Rousseff said Oct. 18 that there is evidence funds were illegally diverted from Petrobras. The Petrobras scandal surfaced through testimonies by former company director Paulo Roberto da Costa to the Federal Police. Costa, who is in jail as the police investigates him for money-laundering, is working with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence.

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