January 19, 2007 / 8:19 AM / 13 years ago

FACTBOX-Brazil's political corruption scandals

(Reuters) - Brazilian politics has been hit by a series of corruption scandals that have become a key election issue.

Most of the allegations surfaced in Brazilian news media and not all have been proven, despite months of congressional hearings.

Here are the main sagas, known by their nicknames:

* “Caixa Dois” (second cash register) - Involved undeclared campaign funding by the ruling Workers’ Party and its allies. Some funds were reported to have come from state firms. Several top Workers’ Party figures quit their posts.

* “Mensalao” (big monthly payments) - Opposition claims that undeclared campaign funds under the “Caixa Dois” scheme were used to buy votes in support of government proposals in Congress. This scandal forced Jose Dirceu, Lula’s powerful cabinet chief, to resign, although he denied any wrongdoing.

* Republic of Ribeirao Preto - Alleged kickback scheme for municipal contracts in Ribeirao Preto city, where Antonio Palocci was mayor before he entered national government. Palocci resigned as Lula’s finance minister over the case although he protested his innocence. Accusers told of a “party house” where Workers’ Party officials met to hand over money and consort with call girls. It was dubbed the Republic of Ribeirao Preto.

* “Sanguessugas” (bloodsuckers) - An alleged scheme by congressmen who arranged for government purchases of overpriced ambulances in exchange for kickbacks. About 90 congressmen have been implicated by public prosecutors.

* “Dossiergate” - Police arrested Workers’ Party members in the final weeks before the October 1 first-round vote with about $1 million that investigators say was to buy a dossier that supposedly implicated presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin and other opposition candidates in the bloodsuckers ambulance kickback scheme.

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